A worker was climbing down a caged ladder, carrying tools.
He fell 8 metres (26 feet) down the ladder and over the guardrail of the landing below, seriously injuring himself.
Why did it happen?
The worker did not maintain 3 points of contact when descending the ladder– he was carrying tools.
The distance from the bottom of the ladder cage to the top of the guardrail was too large (distance A – see image).
The horizontal distance from the ladder to the guardrail (distance B – see image) was too small to prevent a worker from falling over the guardrail.
What did they learn?
Conduct risk assessments on all caged ladders – assess the caged areas, guardrails, and the slope of the ladders.
Put in place control measures to minimise the gap between the ladder and guardrail:
- Additional rails to extend the height of the existing guardrail.
- Rails leading from the caged ladder to the guardrail.
Implement general additional safety procedures:
- Only one worker on the ladder at one time.
- Maintain 3 points of contact at all times (do not carry tools in your hands).
- Consider fitting an alternate access path if the ladder is used too often.
- Ensure workers are up to date with all safe work procedures.
Ask yourself or your crew
How can something like this happen here?
How would you report a ladder you felt was unsafe to use? What conditions might make using ladders dangerous?
How should you carry your tools when working at height?
What are the safe working procedures for working at heights/ladder use?
What measures do we have in place to prevent this from happening? How can we improve?
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A worker was climbing down a caged ladder. He fell down the ladder and over the guardrail of the landing below, seriously injuring himself. Courtesy of WorkSafe Queensland Government