The HSE has recently issued a safety bulletin offering guidance on how, when and where to use ladders and stepladders. Is this good news for your business?

Why the concern?

2021/22 HSE statistics show there were 35 fatal injuries and 39,376 non-fatal injuries caused by falling from height.

There is an urban myth that ladders of all types are “banned” from the workplace. This is not the case.  If they are used sensibly, they can be an appropriate piece of work equipment.

What’s the updated advice?

The HSE has recognised the danger that incorrect ladder use presents and has updated its guidance to offer a sensible, balanced approach to using ladders. LA455 Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders – a brief guide is the new guidance jointly produced by the Ladder Association and the HSE.  It highlights the importance of training and offers expanded guidance on different types of portable ladder, such as telescopic and combination (or multi-purpose) ladders.

Managing ladder use

If you are purchasing ladders, the standards have also recently been updated to improve their safety. Class 1 and Class 3 ladders are no longer available to buy. However, if you own such ladders they may still be used. All ladders should now be designed and manufactured to the current EN 131 standard. Simple measures to use ladders safely include:

  • use for short tasks only, generally less than half an hour. If over this timeframe other lifting equipment such as scaffolding should be used.
  • select the correct ladder for the task.
  • users must be trained in how to assess the risks of using a ladder, when it is right to use one (or not), which type and how to use it.
  • all ladders, whatever type, should be safety checked before each use and removed from use if damaged.

Advice Use the new guidance along with our document to avoid getting bogged down with overly complicated control measures for working at height.

Advice Train your staff on the safe use of ladders and working at height safely.  Contact Safety Aide for more information about our onsite or online training options.

Advice Use our updated work equipment – safe systems of work – stepladders document to help you manage the risk of using this versatile piece of equipment.  Contact Safety Aide for more information.