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We always prioritise safety over anything else – there are few tasks that can't wait for a better day or the right ladder. However, there will always be people who take a risk for the sake of getting the job done, and they don't care if they're risking life and limb to do so – perhaps the call of an early finish and the pub is too strong for some to resist? Here are some of the riskiest ladder users we heard about in 2019.
Firstly, an example of ladder transport which has been decried so often in the media we can't believe we even have another example to report. This time, an Uber driver in Walsall allowed the passengers to transport a ladder while holding it outside the vehicle. Two passengers, one in the front and one in the back, held their arms out of the windows holding on to the ladder as the vehicle made its way to their destination. Uber has said they will investigate the incident, but it seems such a foolhardy thing to do that we can't understand why people would think this is a suitable way to transport a ladder - if nothing else wouldn't your arms get tired?
Alcohol and ladders don't mix, ever. One man in the USA found this out the hard way, after the ladder he was using got knocked out from underneath him, by the branch he was cutting down. The man, filmed by a neighbour, is believed to have indulged in a few beers before attempting this amateur tree surgery and he clearly wasn't thinking straight when he set the ladder up very close to the branch he wanted to cut. As the branch fell it connected with the base of his ladder, sending them both crashing to the ground. We don't know if he was injured, but the alcohol may have helped break his fall!
Vertikal.net receives lots of submissions of improper and dangerous ladder use; some of the worst offenders are the people who think it's safe to gain extra height by placing their ladder on top of something, rather than acquire a ladder which is suitable for the job. One man was photographed climbing a ladder, which he'd propped up on some wheelie bins to access a heating vent. The reasons why this is a bad idea is almost too long to list, but anything with wheels should never be considered to be a stable surface! The lids are very flexible, so if one had given way he'd have fallen sideways and perhaps been nominated for a Darwin Award rather than the title of “Idiot on a ladder”.
The most astounding poor ladder use we've seen this year must go to the man in Germany, who decided the best way to get down from his cherry picker was to climb out of the basket and down a ladder that his friend was supporting braced against a 2ft wall. It should have been obvious that this was a bad idea, but it wasn't until the man in the basket put his weight on the ladder that the friend realised he couldn't support that set up and the ladder crashed to the ground. The big mystery here is why he didn't just lower the basket and climb out properly – perhaps more training is needed?
Stay safe on ladders in 2020; you don't want to end up in the Hall of Shame!