Case 296 - Engineer not allowed to climb a stepladder to replace a meter


A newspaper article stated that a man was left dumbfounded when an electricity engineer refused to replace his meter – because he was not allowed to climb a stepladder.

Panel decision

There is no legal requirement for anyone to undertake a formal training course in order to become competent to use a stepladder. A stepladder is often the sensible and practical option for carrying out low risk tasks that involve working at height for a short time.

But the facts of this case are not quite as reported in the press. The engineer considered the job was awkward for one person to carry out safely on his own from a stepladder due to the position of the meter close to a flight of stairs and decided that the job required a second person to assist in the removal and replacement with a new meter. The panel support this as a reasonable decision to have made.

Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries and falls from ladders are one of the most common causes.

The panel support the decision which the engineer took to call for assistance to do the job as a reasonable one to have made. The real reasons were misrepresented in incorrectly publicising this as issue of red tape around ladder training.