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Lowering risk on high


We learn about new industry guidance designed to keep ladder users safe during these unprecedented times.


Working at height has always involved an element of risk, which is why it is so important that people are trained to use ladders safely. However, as we all know, there’s now a new risk to consider: the spread of Coronavirus.


While COVID-19 is rightly topping the health and safety agenda, height safety remains as crucial as ever and it is hugely important that all work at height is carried out safely, in a way that minimises the risk of falls and injuries.


In response, the Ladder Association, the not-for-profit lead industry body dedicated to promoting the safe use of ladders and stepladders, has issued new industry guidance to help keep ladder users safe during the Coronavirus outbreak.


The new guidance is aimed at health and safety professionals, managers, supervisors and employers, and highlights the key areas to consider in order to help keep ladder users safe from both falls and Coronavirus. The guidance also serves to reassure the industry of the measures that approved Ladder Association training centres are taking to teach workplace healthy habits and to protect delegates during ladder safety training courses.


The lead industry body offers its advice on the challenges being faced by those responsible for the health and safety of ladder users as they plan a return to work. It delves into issues such as how long the virus lasts on ladders, how rescue plans will be affected and how workers can minimise the risk of the virus spreading through proper cleaning of equipment and materials, particularly if they have been handled by multiple people.


Importantly, it includes advice on how workers can maintain physical distancing while using ladders, with a focus on two activities that need to be considered carefully: stabilising a ladder, and raising a ladder.


As Ladder Association training starts to resume in some areas, they have also addressed the need for people to be protected from Coronavirus during their training course. The Ladder Association currently offers four training courses delivered through their network of audited and approved training centres: Ladder & Stepladder User, Ladder & Stepladder Inspection, Ladder & Stepladder Combined Use and Inspection, and Steps & Step Stools for Users.


The guidance reminds employers of the importance of Ladder Association training and reassures managers of the protective measures that can be expected during a course; from e-learning options to minimise time spent in the classroom at the training centre, to increased hygiene, cleaning and social distancing. The guidance further explains how Ladder Association cardholders can get a 90- day extension if their qualification is due to expire before it’s safe for them to visit a training centre.


70 | WINDOW CLEANING AND WORKING AT HEIGHT twitter.com/TomoCleaning


Gail Hounslea, Chairman of the Ladder Association, commented: "Keeping ladder users safe now means protecting them from Coronavirus as well as falls and other injuries. Businesses are facing the unprecedented challenge of getting people safely back to work during a pandemic. Ladders are only a small part of what they've got to consider, but we realised we could use our expertise to support all those whose workers will be heading back up ladders and who need to ensure every aspect of safety is covered."


You can read the new guidance on keeping ladder users safe during the Coronavirus outbreak and find your nearest training centre on the Ladder Association’s website.


www.ladderassociation.org.uk


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