Two recent court rulings relating to HSE investigations demonstrate the importance of safety ladders and walkovers as means of reducing the risk of an accident when working at height.
While we often look at edge protection in the sense of falling from the edge of a roof, it is equally important to ensure safety while reaching the roof from ground level.
A 56-year-old man died in Milton Keynes after falling from a ladder that had damaged rungs and missing footings, the HSE reports.
The roofing contractors for whom he was working have now been fined more than £11,000, a sum that is likely to have been higher if they had not pleaded guilty to breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Meanwhile, a Monmouth construction firm has been fined £13,000, its director fined £7,000, and costs of almost another £7,000 split between the two after a labourer broke his back in a fall through a fragile roof.
Four employees were working on single scaffold boards, with no harnesses or guardrails, and were found at times to step directly on to the roof.
The cases highlight the value of safe walkovers and demarcation systems to keep workers from falling through fragile roofs, along with safety ladders to reach the upper levels of a structure in the first instance.