Horsham council helps make ladder use safer

WORKERS in the Horsham district can feel safer climbing up their ladders thanks to a national initiative which has seen thousands of broken, bent and damaged ladders exchanged for new ones.

The 2011 Ladder Exchange, supported by Horsham District Council and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is open to all local businesses which want to swap their broken, bent or damaged ladder for a new one.

Businesses will have the opportunity to get their ladders checked and, where necessary, trade them in for new ones at any of the council’s partner outlets at a discounted price. The initiative runs in participating retailers until 30 November 2011.

The project aims to reduce death and injury. Falls from height continue to be the main cause of fatalities at work.

Since 2005 falls from ladders have been the cause of six fatalities to workers in the South East of England with 67 major injuries in West Sussex alone.

Furthermore, the project will focus attention on the need to use the right ladder, to inspect it regularly and to make sure the person using it is trained and competent. 

Providing workers with equipment that is safe, in good working order and right for the job is a legal requirement.

Councillor Roger Arthur, cabinet member for a safer and healthier district at Horsham District Council, said: “The council is pleased to be promoting this initiative; Ladder Exchange provides an ideal opportunity for businesses to assess the risks involved in using ladders and to adopt sensible risk reduction measures.

“Most people own a ladder as they are an extremely versatile piece of equipment. For many workers they are vital.

“However, each year many workers fall from ladders suffering major injuries − some fatal. 

“This is a relatively low cost initiative and if even it reduces injuries by only one or two per annum, it will have been well worthwhile.”

The council is advising anyone who needs to use a ladder to check it before use and to not use it if:

* It is bent, split or damaged, or the fixings are loose − the ladder could collapse

* The feet are missing or worn or damaged − the ladder could slip

* The rungs are bent, missing or loose − the ladder could become unstable

* The locking bars are bent or the fixings are worn or damaged - the ladder could collapse

Full details, along with advice and guidance on using ladders safely, are available on the HSE’s website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/ladderexchange.htm.

To find out more about the Ladder Exchange visit Horsham District Council’s website www.horsham.gov.uk or call 01403 215421.