Health and Safety Instructor Incorrectly Instructing How to Use a Ladder

As his company’s health and safety instructor, Paul Cavanagh should know all about climbing a ladder without risking life and limb.

But what began as a simple demonstration to a group of employees ended in humiliation after the ladder gave way – taking Mr. Cavanagh with it.

A video capturing his embarrassing fall from grace has been posted on YouTube and has received more than 22,000 hits. And to make matters worse for Mr. Cavanagh, he has been suspended for failing to follow his company’s rules – on health and safety.
The video clip, posted by an anonymous worker last week after the accident in Gateshead, reveals a string of blunders.

It first shows the ladder against the wall of a semi-detached house, with Mr Cavanagh halfway up. He explains to the employees from Morrison Facilities Services, a repair and maintenance company, that while tethered to the ladder with a safety harness ‘you’re not going to go anywhere’.

To reassure them, Mr. Cavanagh – minus a hard hat – stands on a rung and then leans back from the ladder before spreading his arms out wide. ‘You’re not going to go anywhere,’ he says. ‘It’s a shame you can’t take a photo of it.’

One worker asks: ‘If you want to fall off a ladder that would hold you?’ Mr. Cavanagh replies: ‘Aye.’

A colleague then throws up a hard hat and Mr. Cavanagh attempts to show the workers what would happen if they were to fall off the ladder. He steps off it and can be seen dangling from the harness. One worker calls out: ‘We don’t have to do that do we?’ Mr. Cavanagh replies: ‘Yes.’

But moments later, as he tries to regain his footing on the ladder, disaster strikes.

Having failed to secure the ladder to the wall, Mr. Cavanagh clings on as it begins to fall sideways before crashing over a garden fence and hitting the ground. Mr. Cavanagh lands next to a pile of children’s toys and is seen sitting in shock as members of the group come to his aid.

One worker remarks: ‘You should have put the side tethers on.’ Another adds: ‘That just proves the system doesn’t work.’

Mr. Cavanagh has since been suspended from his job pending an internal investigation.

Yesterday his employers said: ‘Morrison takes the safety of our staff and the public extremely seriously and we are sorry that one of our employees appears to have been demonstrating the use of a ladder system incorrectly.’

Mr. Cavanagh said: ‘I cannot comment on the matter because the person involved has been suspended and is under investigation.’

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