Ladder Exchange 2012
1 September - 30 November 2012

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Ladder Association stresses the importance of safe equipment following Birmingham prosecution

The average company these days will have any number of health and safety rules in place. But a blatant disregard of obvious safety issues will ultimately result in (at least) a hefty fine following prosecution.

This is the response from the Ladder Association following the prosecution of a builder's merchant in Birmingham for numerous work at height issues relating in particular to ladder equipment found in a terrible and life threatening condition. The Association says that national schemes such as the currently running Ladder Exchange are vital in promoting safety among ladder users and stockists.

The safety policy of the prosecuted Birmingham company required that they checked for compliance with site rules every week, inspected their ladders every six months, and destroyed those which could not be properly repaired. Yet despite these rules, health and safety officials found nine ladders in conditions which would have been life-threatening if used. The truth was that the required checks were not being carried out and users were being put at an immediate risk of serious injury.

The defects to these ladders were substantial and included, missing or damaged feet, extensively damaged or twisted rungs and cut down, twisted or damaged uprights.

The family run builder's merchant, with 50 employees based in Birmingham, pleaded guilty and was fined 8,205 including costs for breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The Ladder Association's Chairman, Cameron Clow, said: "In this day and age people naturally expect a good standard of safety wherever they go. But these ladders were in such a terrible state that officials could tell simply by looking at them that no inspections were being carried out.

"People must ensure that any ladder equipment they use in the workplace is safe and fit for use."

He added: "Through programmes like our current Ladder Exchange, we hope to further reduce the number of dangerous ladders in use around the country, and ensure that people never have to work with equipment in this state."

The Ladder Exchange is a way to raise awareness of unsafe ladders through a national campaign, and to incentivise firms to do something about the state of their ladders with the help of discount offers. If firms are encouraged in this way, it is hoped that more will act before they are forced to by health and safety investigations, or worse, someone is injured or killed.

A complete account of this prosecution, supplied by Birmingham City Council, can be found here.

All images are copyright of Birmingham City Council


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