Ladder Accident Survivor Lucky to Be Alive

Matt Burke was in hospital for over a month after his fall
Matt Burke was in hospital for over a month after his fall (Image: Matt Burke and Hull Daily Mail)

A UK man fell from his ladder and is now unable to walk. He was on his ladder back in 2012 when he slipped, fell off his five foot ladder and fell to the ground, smashing his head on the concrete floor. 

He had a five-hour operation to fix bleeding in his brain, and he was in the hospital for a month. He had trouble seeing, suffered short-term memory issues and had to learn to walk again. With the help of his parents and a lot of time (more than two years!), the man was able to make a full recovery. In fact, this year he was even able to run a marathon. 

“I always thought that an accident would never happen to me,” he said. “So when it did, it was a big shock to the system.”

His story is a great reminder to us that, while miracles and recovery can happen, ladder-related accidents are serious and can be life-altering. Always be alert and careful when using your ladder. Remember the safety tips we share here, and climb safe!

Guest Post: Safety When Working at Height

This guy is NOT practicing ladder safety

Working at height can be tricky, but you can take safety precautions before undertaking any work at height to help keep these risk to a minimum.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends you carry out a thorough inspection of any ladder before each use, also known as pre-checks. If you are the owner of ladders, you are also responsible for carrying out a proper inspection to check they are fit for purpose before anybody else uses them.

If ladders have fallen, been stored incorrectly or have been moved from one place to another, it is vital they are inspected for any damage. When you perform an inspection on a ladder, pay attention to these areas:

The Rails – the vertical rails that form the frame should be straight without any bends or cracks. If the rails do have any issues, the ladder may be in danger of collapsing.

The Feet – These should be in place, securely attached at the bottom of the rails. They must not have any visible signs of wear or damage. The feet should also be clean and free from any debris.

The Rungs – The rungs should all be straight, without any bends or splits. All rungs should be in place since a missing rung can destabilize ladders. Anti-slip rung covers are a great idea to help reduce the risk of any accidents.

The Locking Bars – If they are bent or damaged, or there are any signs of wear, the ladder may be unsafe and should not be used.

The Platform – If the platform is bent or damaged, the ladder should not be used since it could cause the ladder to buckle and fall.

The Treads on the Rungs – These should be clean and dry before use. If they are dirty or slippery, the stepladder may slip when it is climbed.

A full risk assessment should be carried out before you or any of your employees begin any task which requires working at height.

First, check if some or all of the work can be completed at ground level. Once you know ladders are required, and all of the inspections have been done as per the above instructions, you need to ensure you have the right type of ladder for the job. When it comes to ladders, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Trying to use the incorrect ladder for a job could be just as dangerous as not carrying out any checks at all. The user should also be competent and aware of the risks and health and safety regulations . All employees should follow a safe system of work which should be detailed in your company policy or training handbook.

Working with faulty, damaged or inadequate equipment will greatly increase the risk of accident and injury. If you take the time to inspect everything before you start, you will significantly reduce the risks involved in working at height and reduce the likelihood of injury occurring.

Securing Your Ladder

Securing your ladder when you travel is as important as using it safely. This week, I saw an article about a ladder that fell off of a vehicle and was left in the road. In an effort to avoid the ladder, a car swerved, rolled and hit another car. 

So, what are some tips for safely securing a ladder when you’re transporting it? 

  1. Use a ladder rack. Using a ladder rack is one of the most convenient ways to transport your ladder from job to job. Always make sure the ladders are put on and secured all the way. Also, never stack ladders on top of one another on the rack. 
  2. Use a Ratchet Strap. If you don’t have a ladder rack, use a ratchet strap to make sure the ladder is stored safely and tightly to the ladder. If your ladder is hanging out the back of your truck or other vehicles, always use a red flag to let other drivers know they need to watch out. 
  3. Put the ladder inside the vehicle. Not only will the ladder be safe and secure, but you will get better gas mileage. A study done a few years ago found that when ladders were transported inside a vehicle, the vehicle got much better gas mileage and decreased the wear and tear. 

3 Benefits of eLearning Courses for Working at Height

Today we have a guest post from! This post talks about some of the benefits of eLearning courses and ladder safety. As you know, I love to provide in-person training, but that’s not always possible, which is why eLearning courses can be so beneficial.

Working at height is an unavoidable part of many jobs. The use of ladders is common in workplaces from building sites to offices.

Unfortunately falls from height are a common cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. Many of them could be prevented, but often employees who work at height aren’t given any specific training in this aspect of their health and safety. Whether it’s a librarian using a ladder to put books on shelves or a builder using scaffolding on a daily basis, good quality training is an important part of making sure people know how to select the correct equipment for the job and use it correctly.

1 – Information Retention

eLearning is an increasingly popular way of ensuring staff stays up to date with their health and safety knowledge. When information is passed along in an enjoyable, memorable way, that information is far more likely to be remembered days, weeks or months down the line.

With our eLearning courses, learners can go back over material at their own pace and at the times that suit them best. It’s easy to track which employees have taken which courses and when they were completed, to make sure everyone’s on the same page when it comes to this important topic.

2 – Best Value for Money

eLearning courses are a cost-effective way of meeting your duties as an employer to train your staff appropriately in health and safety, compliance and performance management topics.

There’s much greater flexibility to train staff when it’s not possible to get them in the same place at the same time – especially if they’re based at different sites or remotely! – and if someone’s absent on a particular day, you won’t have to rearrange training in the way you might for face to face sessions.

3 – Quality

As a growing industry, eLearning technology is improving all the time. Increasing “gamification” and improved animation means courses are now more engaging than ever. Delivering information in an enjoyable way can improve learner recall.

At DeltaNet International, our courses are customizable. This allows you to make any course fit the individual requirements of your business and deliver something that’s specific to your workplace.

eLearning is an excellent option when deciding how best to educate your workforce on the subject of working at height.

Good quality eLearning courses are an excellent, cost-effective and flexible way to keep your employees safe when they’re working at height.

Liability and Ladder Safety

Last summer, a New York company faced a labor lawsuit due to a ladder accident. The worker was using a makeshift ladder when he made a misstep and was injured. He brought his case to court and the court ruled in his favor, even though he was the one who had made a misstep.

This case is just one example of how companies are being held accountable for issues on the job. It is proof that ladder safety training, in addition to general workplace training, is becoming increasingly important. Even if it is technically the worker’s fault, the company he or she was working for can get fined, or worse.

What will you do to help your workers be safe on the job? Here are a couple of tips:

  1. Provide ladder safety training. If you need help with that, fill out the form here, and I will come to your company for free.
  2. Speak Up. If you see something wrong on the job, let the person know and help him or her work more safely.
  3. Have a designated safety manager. A lot of companies, especially small companies, have the owner or regular manager be in charge of safety. Unfortunately, because this person has a lot of other responsibilities, a lot of unsafe things still happen. Having someone whose main job is to check for safety issues helps everyone work safer and more efficiently.



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