Podium Step Inspections
Company fined over £50,000 after worker fell from Podium Step
Podium steps are considered a safer way to work at low-level heights as they provide guard rails and ensure the user is enclosed and secure on a platform. They still however prove a risk and should be inspected to ensure they are safe for use.
Podium steps should be compliant with BS 8620 (the only British standard available in Europe for Podium Steps) which sets the benchmark for strength, access, stability, and rigidity. A company was fined over £50,000 in 2020, following an HSE investigation, after a worker had fallen two metres to the floor and fractured two vertebrae. It was found that the podium steps had been modified with the addition of incorrect feet, contrary to the manufacturers’ instructions. Stabiliser bars had not been fitted and workers had not been trained in their correct use. Read the full story by clicking here
The accident above emphasises the fact that you don't need to be very far off the ground to be seriously injured by a fall. As the HSE inspector noted, podiums are a safe way to work at height - but of course, only when they're used properly.
In the UK, an average of 14 deaths and 1200 injuries are a result of falls from ladders. The Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) suggests using equipment with a working platform and guard rails where ever possible, as an alternative to traditional stepladders, to help prevent the risk of a fall.
Most podium steps are foldable and can fit through standard doorways. Easy to assemble and ready to use in minutes. Podium steps (like mobile scaffold towers) should be inspected before and after each use to make sure the there is no damage that will compromise the user’s safety.
Ensuring workers are trained and competent in the safe use of access equipment is an important step towards ensuring their safety. Providing them compliant, suitable equipment for the job in hand is equally essential. As with any work equipment, podium steps also fall under the remit of PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) and as such must be maintained in a suitable condition and routinely inspected to ensure this remains the case.
By attaching a Good to Go Safety Status Tag at the entry point of the steps, it provides a clear visual reminder to complete a pre-use check prior to use. The Good to Go Safety Podium Step Safety Checklist then allows the user to complete essential pre-use checks before they start using the equipment. Once completed, the checklist is placed inside the tag to display the date and findings of the inspection, while a duplicate copy is retained inside the podium steps check book for management records. The frequency of inspection will be defined by the frequency of use and the environment they are being used in, but the flexibility of the checklist system means it will meet the demands of each individual. Each check book contains 25 checklists, helping companies meet their statutory requirements in the provision of safe and well-maintained equipment (and evidence of that regime).