In April 2013, Gethin Kirwan from Hoole, Chester, UK, fell from a ladder and suffered a fatal head injury while installing guttering at a home in Llandudno, Wales.

After the accident, it was found the ladder Mr. Kirwan was provided by his company was defected and unsafe for work. The feet of the ladder were worn through, some rungs were bent, and one rung was even missing. The ladder was later deemed unfit for use.

Don’t Use Ladders with a Broken Rung

The Health and Safety Inspector, Charles Wilcox, said it best.

“It [the ladder] was in an appalling state and should never have been used,” he said. “All work equipment must be maintained in a safe condition and checked regularly for any damage.”Broken Rung

Like we’ve mentioned before, ladders should be checked before each use. It is very important to remember to inspect the structural integrity of any ladder you are using before ascending it. If the feet of the ladder are worn through or the rungs have been compromised, as was the case with Mr. Kirwan’s, the ladder should not be used under any circumstance. If a ladder is deemed unusable, make sure to mark it and take it out of service. Make sure you and your team have a ladder inspection plan in place so unsafe ladders are never used.

“For ladders, a quick and simple visual check should be done to look for any obvious defects,” Wilcox said. “The most critical issues are worn or missing feet and damage to the rungs and stiles which are very easy to spot.”

This story is a harsh reminder that ladders must be used properly. If the ladder on the site is damaged or unsafe in any way, the job can wait.