HSE explains common work at height myths on their new microsite Work at Height. Many people seemed to think that HSE banned the use of ladders. This isn’t true, and as part of the government overhaul of guidance, the HSE has produced a brief guide to the Safe Use of Steps and Stepladders.
Ladders and stepladders can be a sensible and practical option. They can be used for work at height when the use of other work equipment is not justified because of the low risk and short duration (short duration means working on a ladder for no more than 30 minutes at a time); or when there are existing workplace or site features which cannot be altered.
Anyone who uses a ladder or stepladder should assess the task and risks to determine whether it is the correct type of equipment for that particular task, and make sure that those using the ladder are competent to do so by having the appropriate instruction, knowledge and training. Ladders can be used for access as long as they are of the right type (e.g. a suitable grade of industrial ladder), in good condition and effectively secured to prevent movement.
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The HSE Guide Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders can be downloaded from the HSE website.