A construction worker standing next to a ladder

What should employers know about the safe use of ladders in the workplace?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently issued a safety bulletin in relation to the use of ladders and stepladders in the workplace. Falling from height is one of the main causes of death and injury in UK workplaces, accounting for a quarter of worker deaths and eight per cent of non-fatal injuries every year according to the HSE.

As a result of these worrying statistics, the HSE updated its guidance on the use of ladders in the workplace to remind users of the dangers, and employers of their responsibilities.

LA455 Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders – A Brief Guide was produced in partnership with the Ladder Association, an industry body which is responsible for ensuring safety and best practice in ladder use through guidance and training. According to the Ladder Association, there are around two million ladders in daily use across the UK.

What needs to be considered?

The guide highlights the importance of training and also provides guidance on factors including the safe use of different types of portable ladders, where a ladder is safe to use and how they should be secured in place before use.

Other measures include:

• Selecting the correct type of ladder for the task at hand, for example a stepladder or a leaning ladder
Using ladders for short tasks only, less than half an hour in duration as a general rule 
Ensuring users are properly trained in how to assess the risks of using a ladder 

Further guidance on how to decide whether a ladder is the right type of equipment for a particular task before starting the task is also provided in Working at height: A brief guide.

Reduce the risks

Employers have a duty to ensure employees have the correct safety training and knowledge required before using a ladder in the workplace in order to mitigate risks and prevent accidents and fatalities.

Aegis’ team of experts are experienced in helping businesses to stay on top of their health and safety obligations and meet industry regulations. Get in touch with us today to see how we can support you.