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HSE publishes new guides to improve ladder safety

HSE InfoLine : 24 October, 2005  (New Product)
The Health and Safety Executive has published new free guides to help raise awareness of the risks associated with ladder use and to give advice on how to use ladders safely. The guides are aimed at all users of ladders and their employers and have been published as part of HSE's campaign to reduce falls from height.
Last year 13 people died from falls while working on a ladder, and more than 1200 people suffered major injuries. HSE's guidance builds on the Work at Height Regulations 2005, which came into force on 6 April, and comprises:

Safe use of ladders and stepladders an employers' guide
A toolbox talk on leaning ladder and stepladder safety, for employers giving refresher training to ladder users
Top tips for ladder and stepladder safety, a pocket card for workers, giving key messages on ladder use
These are available on the HSE website at:, and

Commenting on the new guides, Dr Elizabeth Gibby, Director of the Injuries Reduction Programme at HSE, said: 'Falls from ladders cause death and major injury - nearly a third of major injuries from falls from height each year are caused by falls from ladders. Falls from ladders also result in considerable trauma for the people injured, their colleagues, family and friends, and considerable costs for employers.

'These falls are preventable if people plan work properly, assess the risks and choose the right work equipment when working at height. The new guide, toolbox talk and pocket card will help managers and workers to sensibly manage the risks associated with ladder use.

'Ladders should only be used for low risk, short duration work. If a ladder is the right equipment to use, it should be in good condition, prevented from slipping and used by competent people. There should always be a handhold available.'

Barrie Weatherall, Chairman of the Ladder Systems Manufacturers Association, said: 'This guidance is fully supported by the ladder equipment manufacturers' trade associations, LaSMA, the British Association of Ladder Safety Equipment Manufacturers, the British Ladder Manufacturers Association and the Ladder Stabilisers Manufacturers Association. These associations and others were involved in the development of this guidance.

'LaSMA applauds the huge amount of work and effort that HSE has invested introducing the new Work at Heights Regulations and guidance. HSE has done a great job in ensuring that these new rules are workable by encouraging the manufacturers of access equipment and industrial users to talk to each other.'

Terry Hunter, Chairman of BALSEM, said: 'BALSEM congratulates HSE for its sensible approach to reducing the number of deaths and serious accidents caused by the inappropriate use of ladders.'
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