If you are planning to use a ladder for a job, think again! Many injuries in farming each year result from ladders slipping sideways or out from the base, or when someone falls from the ladder. It will often be quicker and safer to use a platform on your forklift truck or a tower scaffold. Ladders should only be used when there is no safer alternative, and only for work of short duration (minutes not hours).
A farm employee sustained serious leg injuries when he fell off a ladder. Under supervision, the 16-year-old trainee was attempting to fix a door runner about 4.5m from the ground. A risk assessment had indicated that a forklift cage or a tower scaffold should be used. However, the supervisor decided to use the ladder for the short job. The young worker overreached, slipped, and fell.
A farmer suffered fatal head injuries when he fell from a ladder while repairing the roof of a farm building. He was attaching roof sheets at the gable end of the building. He propped the wooden ladder against the gable end but, due to the slope of the roof edge, the stiles were not evenly supported at the top and it is presumed that the ladder slipped. He was found unconscious beside the ladder with head injuries and died later.
A farm worker fell when the base of the ladder from which he was working slipped. He was working inside a building with a ladder that was too long. To compensate, he was using the ladder, which had no feet, at an angle which was too shallow.
A farmer fell off a ladder while he was carrying out maintenance work at a height of about 2–3m. The base of the ladder was unsecured and had only one rubber foot, which was damaged. As he reached over, the ladder rocked, causing him to fall off.