AKM Fabrications


  • AKM Fabrications
  • Unit J, Buckshaw Link
  • Ordnance Way, Buckshaw Village
  • Chorley, PR7 7EL

Safety ladders protect workers on incomplete structures

Safety Ladders

An incident in which a window fitter suffered broken ribs and a broken thumb is a reminder of the importance of safety ladders so workers can reach upper levels without unnecessary risk.

In this case, reported by the HSE following a successful prosecution, the windows that were due to be installed were being carried up through a stairwell.

However, the stairs had not yet been built – which meant workers were left to scale the distance to the first floor by clambering on to a ledge halfway up, which was the only part of the staircase structure already in place.

On his way up, the 54-year-old worker fell backwards, first hitting the ledge 1.7 metres below him, and then dropping the further 1.3 metres to ground level.

The glazing contractor he worked for, as well as the principal contractors on the project, were both fined following prosecution, to a total of £26,000 with nearly £20,000 in costs.

While fully protecting premises that are still under construction can seem challenging, there are certain measures that can be taken to reduce the risk.

Safety ladders can be installed once the outer structure is complete, and would have provided a way to reach the upper levels from the outside while interior construction was still being carried out.

Even if guardrails cannot be installed, man anchors offer temporary protection by cabling workers to a secure anchor point so they cannot fall over the edge.

And rubbish chutes provide a safe means of getting waste materials back down to ground level without having to carry them down stairs or ladders.

Together, there are plenty of products that can do the work of edge protection, even in situations where guardrails themselves would not be suitable.

Finally, on finished structures where regular maintenance is required, fold-down edge protection can be installed which can be raised into place when it is needed, but laid flat on the roof surface when it is not, so there is no permanent visual effect from ground level.