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News

Ladders are not banned but they should be used sensibly

HSE InfoLine : 12 September, 2005  (Company News)
The Health and Safety Executive spoke on BBC's Newsnight programme last Friday (9 September) to dispel the myth that window cleaners can no longer use ladders because they are banned by the Work at Height Regulations. Sensible risk management is the key to securing compliance with health and safety regulations, including the WAHR.
The Health and Safety Executive spoke on BBC's Newsnight programme last Friday (9 September) to dispel the myth that window cleaners can no longer use ladders because they are banned by the Work at Height Regulations. Sensible risk management is the key to securing compliance with health and safety regulations, including the WAHR.

Since the introduction of the WAHR there have been rumours in various industry sectors claiming that ladders are 'illegal' or 'banned by HSE'. The Newsnight piece gave HSE an opportunity to set the record straight for window cleaners.

Ian Greenwood, head of HSE's Falls from Height Programme, said: 'HSE champions sensible health and safety. These Regulations do not ban ladders but say they should be used only when all other safer alternatives for work at height have been ruled out. A risk assessment must show that the task is low risk and of short duration, or that there are site features that mean other equipment is not appropriate. If so, then ladders can be used.'

Falls from ladders resulted in 14 deaths at work last year. Every year falls at work cause some 4,000 major injuries (ranging from fractures to hospitalisations). Nearly a third (over 1,000) of these major injuries follow falls from ladders. HSE is planning a number of initiatives this year to promote safe, sensible ladder use, including the launch of a new guide, 'Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders', in the autumn.
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