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Ladder Association Announce 2013 ‘Idiots On Ladders’ Winner

For the second year running, the Ladder Association's ‘Idiots on Ladders’ competition has been inundated with entries from around the world, highlighting the worst ways to work at height. This year's winning picture was viewed by thousands of people and secured nearly four times as many votes as the runner up.

Sent in halfway through December, just before the end of the competition, the highest voted picture involves two workmen showing some misplaced faith while trying to climb a church roof. One man on the ground holds up one ladder which props up a second one leaning against it at an angle. The other worker is halfway up the second ladder, with only the steep church roof to lean into.

Idiots on Ladders was fi rst held in 2012, and runs alongside the Ladder Association’s Ladder Exchange scheme, which lets people and companies around the UK trade in old ladders in bad conditions for discounts on new ones. Thousands of ladders have been exchanged since the initiative began in 2007.

Ladder Association Chairman, Cameron Clow, said: “Idiots on Ladders is about shaming bad practice and showing how important training is. The number of pictures the public sends in, and the things seen happening in them, is always hard to believe.

“Ladders are a practical and indispensable option in the workplace, but like any other piece of work-at-height equipment, they have to be used safely and competently. The Ladder Association's message has always been that if it's right to use a ladder, use the right ladder and be trained to use it safely. With falls from height the main cause of death

in the UK workplace, the people in these pictures really are taking their lives in their hands.”

One such example is the tragic death of a roofi ng contractor, 58, following a fall from a ladder, and the subsequent successful prosecution of his employer by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Magistrates’ Court last month. This prompted the Ladder Association to issue a statement emphasizing the importance of training when working at height. The father of three fell just seven feet from an unsecured, domestic type ladder in June 2011.

“Ladders and stepladders are invaluable pieces of workplace equipment used by millions of people every day,” said a spokesperson from the Ladder Association. “However, like all pieces of access equipment, they must be used safely and competently.

“Training is the most important tool to help reduce accidents of this type. It makes sure that everyone has the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their work safely, including knowing the right type of ladder to use for a specifi c task. Otherwise, in extreme cases, it can result in a tragic loss of life with shattering consequences for family, friends and colleagues.” The company concerned was prosecuted under the Work at Height Regulations and fi ned £2,000 with £5,000 costs.

The ‘Idiots on Ladders’ competition is run through the Ladder Association’s Facebook page. Pictures are sent in by members of the public, and each year the one with the most ‘likes’ is named the ‘Biggest Idiot on a Ladder of the Year’.

Pictures have been sent in from around the world, with the runner- up this year showing a street in

FEATURE | 25 Winner


Bangkok. Below the street sign is a man working on a set of traffi c lights, with a ladder apparently made out of bamboo sitting on top of a car with its hazard lights on as traffi c drives by.

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