A Myth Busting Guide to Ladders and Working at Height

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Myth Busting Guide to Ladders and Working at Height

Acrophobia – AKA a fear of heights. While for the majority of us, just the thought of being at the top of a ladder would fill us with dread and fear, it’s been estimated that 10 million workers carry out jobs involving some form of work at height in the UK every year.

So with this in mind, here at Western Industrial, we would like to take this opportunity to help clear up some of the working at height ‘myths’ (confirmed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)) –

  • You need to be ‘qualified’ before using a ladder at work
    No, you don’t. You need to be competent, meaning you must have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to use a ladder properly for the work you’ll be carrying out (a bit of common sense really does go a long way!)
  • The HSE have banned the use of ladders on building sites
    This isn’t true. Ladders and stepladders can be a sensible and practical option. They can be used for working at height when the use of other work equipment isn’t necessary.
  • I’m working at height if I’m walking up and down a staircase at work
    No, you’re not. Working at height doesn’t include walking up and down a fixed staircase in a building.
  • You need to have two feet and one hand on a ladder at all times when carrying out a task
    Wrong! When you need to have both hands free for a brief period to do a job using a stepladder (e.g. putting a box on a shelf, hanging wallpaper, installing a smoke detector on a ceiling) you should maintain three points of contact at the working position i.e. this is not just two feet and one hand, it can be two feet and your body (use your knees or chest to help with stability) supported by the stepladder.
  • HSE has banned the use of ladders to access scaffolds and you could be fined if you ignore this ban
    Again… Not true! Ladders can be used for access as long as they are the right type, in good condition and effectively secured (tied) to prevent movement.

In 2014, the Health and Safety Executive recorded that falls from height were the most common cause of fatalities, accounting for nearly three in ten (29%) fatal injuries to workers. This being said, if you comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and use the right equipment for the job, you could reduce this risk for yourself, your colleagues, and your employees – ensuring a safer working environment!

Here at Western Industrial, (based in Devon), we have an extensive range of Safety Steps, Ladders, Access Platforms and more; for all of your working at height needs! Come and take a look at our website www.wistore.co.uk, or speak to a friendly member of our sales team on 01364 651860.

Article compiled by: Laura Pay-Savage

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