Falls from height : risk perception of ladder users within the UK construction industry
Lonsdale, John Horst
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Accidents involving falls from portable ladders occur at a rate of forty per week in the construction industry. Ladders are so common that they are taken for granted and the perceived risks are often under-estimated. The purpose of this study was to analyse the risk perception of operatives using portable ladders, and to develop and test a ladder-use training aid. The research used a quantitative, within-subjects survey, consisting of three structured questionnaires administered to four hundred respondents attending construction related training programmes. The surveys used images of actual ladder-use situations, and were carried out in two stages; the first stage measured the level of risk perception and sensation seeking before any training had taken place, and the second measured any change in the level of risk perception following the use of the ladder training-aid. Initial pre-training results revealed that operatives over-estimated the risks from high-level ladder use situations, and underestimated the risks from low-level ladder use situations. Post-training results showed an improvement in risk perception, especially for low-level situations. It was concluded that risk perception varies both with the individual and their level of experience, and that the training-aid had a positive impact on the improvement of ladder-use risk perception. Keywords: Falls, ladder, risk perception, training aid.