This ladder accident could have been avoided if health and safety had been followed.

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) has recently reported on a tragic case that could so easily have been avoided if the employers followed workplace safety rules.

Ex-heating engineer, Dylan Skelhorn, tells the story of how a 33-feet fall he suffered in 2011, had severe and enduring injuries, which impacted on his life and family.

Dylan, was servicing a chimney when the stack collapsed underneath him, shares his story to aid his recovery as well as providing a wake-up call about the potential consequences of neglecting safety.

If you are unfortunate to have already suffered from an injury involving a ladder at work then please find out more about how to make a work accident claim here.

SHP reports:

“Dylan has run his motivational safety speaking company Safety Up since 2014. He is also involved in various working-at-height safety projects and is a safety ambassador for the No Falls Foundation.

SHP: What kind of impact have your talks had? Are you aware of any attendees resolving to improve their safety practises based on your story?

Dylan Skelhorn (DS): I would say 99% of feedback has been positive.

One or two people don’t want to listen and will say things like: “I’ve been doing this for 45 years and I’ve never had an accident yet.” Famous last words – I had been working for over 14 years before my accident, so it can happen at any time.

Thankfully, the majority of people understand the consequences of an accident and my story has a positive effect on them, so hopefully this will prevent many other accidents from happening in the future.

I’ve had people approach me after my presentations and say things like: “I was going to clean my gutters at the weekend using a ladder” or “I was going to go up on the roof to fix a couple of slates, but I’m not doing it now after hearing your story, I don’t want the same thing to happen to me.”

This is great, because if I have prevented just one person from going through the same thing, then my accident hasn’t just been for one day’s wage and I’ve managed to change that person’s attitude towards safety.

SHP: If talking is important therapy for overcoming trauma, then has talking about your accident for nine years to thousands of strangers aided your recovery?

DS: Talking about my accident has definitely aided my recovery. It’s a kind of therapy and the more I speak about it, the better I feel. Knowing that you may have prevented someone else from having an accident is a great feeling.

In the last nine years, I’ve spoken to over 200,000 people in thousands of companies all over the country, and if it prevents one person going through the same as me, then it’s worth doing.

It also gets me out of the house and prevents me from dwelling on my accident, as well as helping me keep moving to decrease some of the chronic pain that I have been left with.

I don’t know what I’d be doing now if I wasn’t doing these presentations, because due to my injuries, I’m no longer able to work physically, which is what I had always done previously.

I’m now classed as 40% disabled with degenerative arthritis. That is another side to having a serious accident: your physical abilities change and I’ve even lost my only hobby, which was going to the gym.

I’m a big believer in turning a negative into a positive and I think that my bad experience can be used to prevent others experiencing the same, which is definitely a positive.

There are key safety messages that relate to everyone and I feel that they are most important.”

For more information on the regulations around the safe use of ladders, in order to avoid a work accident claim take a look at our blog on the subject.

You can read SHP‘s full article on Dylan here>

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