The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have been running a ‘ladder exchange’ programme throughout August, with a stark reminder of the dangers of working at height incorrectly.
In 2005/6, 46 people died and there were 3351 major injuries as a direct result of falls from height. The 1200 fatal and major injuries each year from falls from ladders costs the economy more than £60million.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 came into force on 6th April 2005 and introduces a hierarchy for use when planning and risk assessing work at height. Duty holders should consider how to avoid working at theight. If this is not possible, they should take steps to prevent a fall occuring. Where they cannot prevent a fall, they should take steps to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall.
A ladder should only be used where a risk assessment demonstrates that the taks is low risk and of short duration, or where there are existing features on site that cannot be altered and the use of other equipment is not practical. Such features include restricted space preventing other equipment from being put in place correctly or ground conditions that mean that there is no suitable area to set up alternative equipment.
More information can be obtained from the Health & Safety Executive website.
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