‘DON’T BE A LADDER LIGHTWEIGHT’
‘DON’T BE A LADDER LIGHTWEIGHT’ is a new campaign from the Ladder Association, complete with its own logo, which sets out to combat the over-confident and often dangerous mentality of ladder users who rely solely on learning on the job. According to the association, which launches its new Code of Practice today, ladder safety training is the key to improving safety and best practice in the workplace.
It is also a significant factor in helping to ensure that ladder users and their managers and supervisors are competent as required by the Work at Height Regulations.
Despite the many myths surrounding ladders, and the stories regularly appearing in the popular press, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has not banned ladders says the association, and they remain - with some two million estimated to be in daily use - an invaluable and flexible piece of workplace equipment.
The campaign is aimed particularly at those in the manual trades who take ladders, and the risks associated with them, for granted. “Sadly, familiarity breeds contempt,” says Ladder Association chairman, Chris Ball.
“Our aim is simply to promote an informed and professional approach to ladder use, just like any other piece of access equipment. Falls can be avoided by sensible and proportionate management of the risks - knowledge and skills best acquired through training. We’ve actively supported HSE’s Ladder Exchange initiative for the last three years to help highlight the importance of safe ladder use.”
An integral part of the campaign, the association’s new Code of Practice can be used as a stand alone reference, but is also intended to complement the association’s one-day standard training course available from its approved training centres. With a foreword from HSE, the code covers employers’ and users’ responsibilities, the Work at Height Regulations (WAHR), risk avoidance, best practice and the importance of planning, inspection and maintenance.”
“Everyone thinks they can use a ladder”, says Chris Ball, “But it’s surprising the number of people who go on our courses, including the hardened 20-year user, who come away having admitted to learning something new. We firmly believe you can teach an old dog new tricks.”
HSE supports the launch of the Code of Practice. “It’s essential that people use ladders safely and make sure they are right for the planned work. The Code of Practice contains useful guidance for ladder users which will help them to avoid falls from height,” says Peter Brown, Head of HSE’s Work, Environment, Radiation and Gas Division.