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Health and Safety responsibility vs stupidity

By tobefair - 25 September 2014 11

I was driving along Hindmarsh Drive yesterday morning and noticed the red light camera at the Parkway intersection being fixed.  A guy in a high vis vest up a high ladder fixing the camera with a spanner (I assume) in one hand, as the other held a cigarette.  If this guy falls off, who is responsible for his injuries?  It struck me as a pretty bl**dy stupid thing to be doing, but one that his employer would probably be responsible for if he was injured. It makes me wonder who actually wears the cost if someone disregards their own safety?

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Health and Safety responsibility vs stupidity
gazket 9:56 pm 26 Sep 14

I suppose he should have a boom or scissor lift. How would you like to pay for that cash or credit .

What would of happened if you had of crashed the car because you were looking at him instead of concentrating on the road in front. How could you disregard your own safety like that.

niftydog 5:26 pm 26 Sep 14

Duty of care applies to both workers and employers. If his employer gave training in proper ladder use, and he was not following the training, then he would probably bear most if not all of the responsibility. If, however, a court decided it was ‘reasonably practicable’ for the employer to have done more to prevent a fall, then they would probably also be penalised.

puggy 2:51 pm 26 Sep 14

bigfeet said :

Antagonist said :

What is your take on people who negotiate stairs at the footy, with a beer in one hand and a Chiko Roll in the other?

I look at them in wonder. I wonder why they only have one beer.

One would have to assume that they’ve already drunk plenty of beers up to that point, given that they’ve decided to eat a Chiko Roll.

bigfeet 12:35 pm 26 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

What is your take on people who negotiate stairs at the footy, with a beer in one hand and a Chiko Roll in the other?

I look at them in wonder. I wonder why they only have one beer.

Madam Cholet 11:39 am 26 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

What is your take on people who negotiate stairs at the footy, with a beer in one hand and a Chiko Roll in the other?

But that’s not someone at work. We can all make decisions on how we navigate things in our own time, but the issue here is that the man was at work and has a responsibility to do things in the safest possible manner for his own well-being and his organisations.

Antagonist 11:01 am 26 Sep 14

What is your take on people who negotiate stairs at the footy, with a beer in one hand and a Chiko Roll in the other?

wildturkeycanoe 5:58 am 26 Sep 14

magiccar9 said :

Pork Hunt said :

Smoking is hazardous to one’s health but why would he fall off the ladder because of it?

Humans have 2 hands. If one is using the spanner, and one holding the cigarette he wouldn’t have anything to use to hold on if he lost his balance.

Personally I’d say it’s 100% his responsibility. He is choosing to engage in this dangerous manner, thus waving his right to be compensated by his employer. The employer should only be liable if he was following the correct procedures fully.

This argument will get you nowhere because most of the time when you are up a ladder to fix something, you need both hands to do the fixing. Electricians use pliers in one hand whilst gripping the cable with the other, or a screwdriver in one and the fixture in the other. You can’t join two pieces of plumbing pipe one handed. There is little you can do without using both hands when atop an A-frame or extension ladder.
In construction the rule is 3 points of contact, in order to prevent a fall. An unfortunate result of this is the introduction of platform ladders which weigh heaps more. The other drawback is that you need to carry several different sized platform ladders to cater for the different heights you work at, because you aren’t allowed to work from the steps, only the top where there is a safety rail. Safety has made construction work slower and more expensive, not necessarily safer either as platform ladders have not prevented accidents due to falling off and manual handling.
Observations like yours, with the resulting thought pattern of “how to make it safer” end up with some great ideas and some not so great ones. The risk and consequence is nowadays the factor that determines whether or not to change the way something is done and in this example I’d say that the track record of injuries from performing this task is very good, so due to the small likelihood of them falling off, no further remedial action is required.

magiccar9 3:28 pm 25 Sep 14

Pork Hunt said :

Smoking is hazardous to one’s health but why would he fall off the ladder because of it?

Humans have 2 hands. If one is using the spanner, and one holding the cigarette he wouldn’t have anything to use to hold on if he lost his balance.

Personally I’d say it’s 100% his responsibility. He is choosing to engage in this dangerous manner, thus waving his right to be compensated by his employer. The employer should only be liable if he was following the correct procedures fully.

1967 1:22 pm 25 Sep 14

Was it the big “A” frame step ladder that they often use?
The problem there is that if the unsecured ladder does topple, that bloke, (or lady), is going to land right in the middle of an open traffic lane.
They never shut down the lanes beside while doing that sort of work and it always bothers me.
Nor do they seem to adhere to the traffic management rules on temporary signage and barricades.

Pork Hunt 12:38 pm 25 Sep 14

Smoking is hazardous to one’s health but why would he fall off the ladder because of it?
On the other hand, I presume his employer is Ecowise and wonder if they provide a smoke free workplace? If so, why is he smoking at work?

Madam Cholet 12:24 pm 25 Sep 14

Under WHS regs, it’s my understanding that whilst employees are still responsible for not being stupid on the job and adhering to their workplace policies, that if push came to shove, the employer would probably still shoulder some responsibility – depending on the outcome of whatever incident was caused, i.e. If he fell into traffic and caused a pile up, or if he just hurt his elbow when he slipped.

It’s an interesting scenario though because essentially he was in his ‘workplace’ albeit in the ‘fresh’ air. Who was the smoking going to harm but himself? Unless he had an accident of course.

You see many professional drivers smoking as they drive along – that’s a workplace as well and I suspect they are not adhering to the policies of their own organisations.

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