Every month, approximately 100 people fall off a ladder at work and suffer serious injuries. In 2007 this was costing the economy about £60 million pounds a year. Since then, it has become a myth that ladders and step-ladders should be banned from the workplace.
The Health & Safety Executive has updated it’s guidance on working at height, to try to provide “clear simple advice on what to do and what not to do”. One of the key changes to their guidance is “busting” some of the persistent myths, such as the banning of ladders and step-ladders. The guidance states on ladder work 3 points of contact should be maintained at the working position. This can mean:
- 2 feet and 1 hand or;
- When both hands need to be free for a brief period, 2 feet and the body, supported by the step-ladder.
The guidance underlines the fact that ladders and steps are not banned for short duration work, provided they are maintained and used properly.
This was highlighted in a recent prosecution of Iron Mountain (UK) Ltd in February 2014, the HSE argued that the company should have implemented a more robust system for inspecting step-ladders and providing replacements when defects are identified, and the Court found the company guilty, fining them £5,000 and ordering them to pay costs.
Useful guidance can be found on the HSE work at height microsite.
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