Care with Christmas Decorations - Gravity Kills ! Using ladders safely

9th December 2011

On average 12 people a year die at work falling from ladders and nearly 1200 suffer major injuries.

More than a quarter of falls happen from ladders. A fall off a ladder in a High Street shop is just as likely to seriously injure someone as would be a fall off a window cleaner's ladder outside or a fall off a roof maintenance ladder The simple message to ladder users is: Ladders can be used if after assessing the risks the use of more suitable work equipment is not justified because of the low risk and short duration. If it is right to use a ladder, use the right ladder, use it safely. If it's not the right ladder, exchange it. Short duration work is taken to be between 15 and 30 minutes depending upon the task Work at Height Regulations came into force in April 2005. Employers have since then had a specific duty to assess the risks, plan and supervise all workers who work at height (under the Regulation's definition includes, any situation where there is danger of a fall, this would take in, work at ground level alongside any pit, trench or hole). Statistically common causes of falls include those where: The user over-reaches The user slips from the ladder The ladder wobbles, slips and falls The ladder breaks The actions to prevent these types of incident include: Individuals are: Trained to use a ladder Fit to work at height Ladders are: Positioned correctly on a firm, level surface Rested on a firm surface at the top Fastened securely at top and bottom Positioned properly, using the 4 up 1 out rule for leaning ladders Only used to carry light materials or tools (up to 10kg) Further information is available in HSE Publications: INDG 402 Safe use of Ladders and Stepladders and INDG 405 Top tips on Ladders and Stepladders

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