A health and safety officer has been suspended after health and safety breaches during a ladder demonstration were caught on camera and posted on YouTube.

It shows a health and safety officer for Morrison Facilities Services, based in Gateshead, giving a demonstration on safe ladder use to a group of employees. The film shows the man on the ladder, which is leaning against the front of a house, without a safety helmet until he is thrown one by a colleague.

He can be heard explaining to the employees that “you’re not going to go anywhere” whilst using a safety harness.

He then repeatedly takes his hands off the ladder before it eventually falls sideways over a garden fence. After the health and safety officer gets up, appearing to be unhurt, an employee can be heard saying: “It proves the system doesn’t work”, whilst another adds: “You should have had the side tethers on”.

Chris Morgan, Director of HSEQ for Morrison, left the following comment on the YouTube clip: “ We are dismayed by this isolated event, resulting from an individual deciding not to comply with our stringent H&S standards.

“This has led to suspension, pending investigation. We strive to ensure that everyone gets home safely, every day and are proud to have one of the lowest accident rates in sector. Please be sure that we have responded appropriately to this incident and that we will always endeavour to operate to the highest safety standards.”

A spokesperson for Morrison told Workplace Law: “Having reviewed the video ourselves it appears that a number of fundamental errors were made by this individual, which resulted in the accident taking place.

“These errors suggests that a number of our standard health and safety protocols were not followed and as a consequence we had no option but to instigate a suspension pending a full internal investigation.

“It would be improper for us to speculate any further on the outcome of this investigation until it has been concluded.

“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.

“As a result of this isolated incident we are now reinforcing the importance of ladder safety when working at height across all of our teams, to help ensure an accident like this does not happen again.

“We would like to reassure all of our customers that our health and safety controls are robust and that this incident does not in any way reflect our usual operations. Our company-wide commitment to health and safety is reflected in the fact that we have one of the lowest accident frequency rates of any company in our sector.”