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Using the right ladder for the right job

Since being launched in 2005 to provide ladder safety guidelines, The Working at Height Regulations have caused a lot of confusion, with employers baffled on how they should be applied or whether ladders are banned altogether. To clear the misunderstanding, storage and access equipment specialists Action Storage is offering free advice to public sector and commercial organisations on the use of ladders, stepladders and scaffold towers to help them conform to the regulations this Christmas.

“What every organisation needs to be clear on is that the Working at Height Regulations doesn’t ban the use of ladders,” said Action Storage MD Tom Brialey, “It simply advises that alternative methods should be used whenever possible. Otherwise a risk assessment needs to be conducted to check that the ladder will be used for less than 30 minutes and poses a low risk.”

With falls the main cause of death in the workplace and 1200 ladder related major injuries every year, employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees know how to use a ladder safely. This includes ensuring ladders are in good conditions; employees know how to use them safely and are using the right ladder for the job.

Ladders fall into three classifications:

• Class 1(BS2037 & BS1129) – Industrial ladders: provide support for vertical loads of up to 175 kg (27.5 stones) and are suitable for a high frequency of usage in industrial environments
• Class 2 (BS EN-131) - Trade/light industry: medium duty ladders for relative low frequency and safe conditions. Load capacity of up to 150 kg (23.5 stones)
• Class 3 (BS2037 & BS1129) – Domestic ladders: suitable for infrequent use and for carrying weights of up to 125 kg (19.5 stones)

Organisations can contact Action Storage by email or on its unique, free helpline for advice on choosing the most suitable access and handling equipment for their particular task.

Action Storage also offers the following guidelines on using its range of ladders, stepladders and scaffold towers safely and with the minimum risk:

• Regular equipment inspections should be conducted to ensure the brackets, steps and joints on a ladder are secure and reliable
• If there is a possible risk of electric shock a fibreglass ladder should be used because of its isolating properties, and it should always be kept dry and clean
• Steel ladders are heavier and more durable than aluminium ladders, which makes them more suitable for longer term and repeated use
• Never stand a ladder on boxes, bricks or any surface which is unstable to gain height
• Allow at least an additional one metre beyond the top rung you’ll be standing on in order to ensure a handhold at all times

Since they were launched, The Work at Height Regulations have led to council’s banning workers from putting up Christmas decorations and window cleaners being turned away from office blocks because of fears of falling foul of the rules.

However, Action Storage aims to dispel some of the confusion this Christmas and assist public sector and commercial organisations to conform to the regulations, whilst also ensuring they’re using ladders and access equipment safely and with the minimum risk to their employees.

About Action Storage

For over 20 years Action Storage has supplied shelving, racking and storage equipment using the latest materials and innovative designs. Their clients include retail, warehouses, schools, government offices and anyone else requiring high quality storage solutions throughout the UK and mainland Europe.

Action Storage pride themselves on their high service levels, and provide a free, unique advice line for discussing your requirements and assessing the perfect solution.

For service enquiries contact:

Tel UK: 0800 592215
Outside UK: +44 (0)1908 525700
Fax: +44 (0)1908 321650

Action Storage
6 Fitzhamon Court
Wolverton Mill South
Milton Keynes
MK12 6LB

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