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 UK’s biggest ‘idiot on ladder’ crowned

UK’s biggest ‘idiot on ladder’ crowned

4 January 2013 Email this article

The Ladder Association’s ‘Idiots on Ladders’ campaign has ended, with one worker being given the dubious honour of being the nation’s biggest ‘idiot on a ladder’.


In total 38 photos of people flouting health and safety precautions – not to mention common sense – while working at height were submitted, with entries coming from as far afield as Mexico.  


The winning snap showed a worker reaching to the top of a chimney with a vast fall directly below him. As well as the fall alone being enough to kill him, the ladder he selected to complete the job was not even long enough to prevent him from having to stretch upwards. In addition, the man also had a bucket wedged between the ladder and the wall, an additional safety hazard.


The Ladder Association is now trying to determine who the worker in the picture is, in order to offer him the ladder training that he clearly needs. 


In second place came a picture taken earlier this year, showing a gardener with one foot on the rung of his ladder and the other on a tree branch, while he brandished a chainsaw at the tree’s other branches. He wore neither protective clothing or a harness. This picture, which originally came from a news story in the Lincolnshire Echo, quickly became something of a social media sensation, and was shared and commented on on Facebook even more times than the winning photo was.


Cameron Clow, Chairman of the Ladder Association, said: “This competition was all about raising awareness ....We wanted to show together two of the biggest dangers in the workplace – people using their ladders in an unsafe way, and people using equipment that is unfit for purpose.


“Ladders are arguably the most common type of equipment used for work at height – it is estimated that three million are in use in the UK alone. Reported ladder accidents have fallen by over 30% over the last 10 years, but more clearly needs to be done. We are pleased at the response the competition received, with people making sure to pull out their cameras whenever they saw dangerous ladder use, but it is also a worrying sign of how common this kind of unsafe activity is.”