The use of ladders is a particular issue, with for example in the retail sector, HSE research indicating ladders (at 40%) accounted for more falls from height accidents than platforms (10%), stairs (8%), roof/false ceiling (7%) and scaffold/gantry (4%) combined.
While the stats would no doubt vary across sectors, they do clearly highlight the hazards associated with ladder use. The Ladder Association estimate over 2 million of them are in use daily in the UK.
Following a collaboration between the HSE and the Ladder Association two new ladder safety guidance documents have been launched this month, these being:
- The Ladder Association Code of Practice - Ladder-Association-Code-of-Practice-Version-2-Rev-0-0721.pdf (ladderassociation.org.uk)
- LA455 Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders - a brief guide - LA455 - The Ladder Association
With the introduction of these new documents, INDG 455 is being withdrawn by HSE. The webinar supporting the launch of the new guidance was attended by nearly 4,000 people and advice given during questions also emphasised:
- The use of ladders should be for short duration tasks “no longer than 30 minutes” considering the wider risks associated with the task, as well as the task itself.
- For existing ladders BS2037 and BS 1129 can still be used as relevant, but for only if they remain safe and in good condition (not damaged or worn). They should then be replaced with equipment complying with the new requirements (i.e. BS EN 131-1:2015+A1:2019, BS 8630:2019, BS EN 131-2:2010+A2:2017.