An employee of a painter and decorator in the Northamptonshire area was left permanently paralysed from the chest down after suffering a devastating fall during a job.

The accident occurred while the worker in question was installing a roof ladder on a pitched roof at a property in Mawsley.


working at height safety


Permanent Injuries

Local painter and decorator, Ian Ramsay, was hired to paint the exterior windows and soffit boards of a nearby property in the region, which also included dormer windows within the roof.

The latter detail proved pivotal and ultimately led to the aforementioned accident that resulted in the serious injury occurring.

In an effort to access the dormer windows, Ian Ramsay’s employee fell from height while setting up a ladder, sustaining crippling injuries in the process.


An Avoidable Accident

Following a subsequent investigation by the Health Safety Executive, the body deemed that the whole incident could have been avoided, had the work at height hierarchy been followed and appropriate planning and equipment been used.

The absence of compliant scaffolding in particular was noted as being a crucial oversight that played a large role in the accident occurring. A thorough risk assessment should have identified this job as one where the use of ladders was not appropriate.


Serious Consequences

While the incident occurred back in early August of 2018, the hearing only came to its conclusion this week.

During the hearing, the employer, Mr Ramsay, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

As a result, he was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 160 hours of unpaid work and fined over £2100 with a supplementary surcharge of £85.


Appropriate Equipment

In the wake of the hearing, HSE Inspector, Rachel Grant, had this to say:

“Those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height. In this instance, the painting of the soffits and windows was not short duration work and should have been done from appropriate work platforms. Ladders were not the appropriate equipment.”


Working at Height Safety Equipment

The serious consequences of the fall highlight once again the importance of implementing the proper working at height precautions and the sheer magnitude of failure to do so.

Neglecting to use the appropriate equipment suitable for the task at hand can not only hinder the job itself but, in this case in particular, lead to the permanent paralysis of an employee, altering lives as a result.

To avoid any such incident occurring at your workplace, implementation of the correct height safety measures isn’t a recommendation, it should be a pre-requisite.

At, we have a wide variety of height safety equipment, ranging from fall arrest blocks to safety harnesses and accessories.

Keep you and your workers safe by stocking up on the correct safety equipment for your job and use the appropriate working at height gear whenever necessary – failure to do so could be devastating.


For more information on working at height safety gear, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0117 9381 600 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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