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September 1, 2009

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HSE launches ladder safety campaign

The HSE has launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of using old and damaged ladders.

The campaign centres around the ladder exchange programme, which allows workmen to get rid of old, damaged and broken ladders and trade them for new ones. More than 5000 ladders have been exchanged under the scheme since it first launched in 2007.

Former Big Brother winner, and construction entrepreneur, Craig Philips, is a big supporter of the ladder safety campaign. He said: “To be a winner in the construction industry you have to take health and safety seriously.

“If you take a chance with dodgy ladders you are risking your life. Every month, over 100 people fall off a ladder at work and suffer serious injuries. So many of these accidents are avoidable, and having safe equipment makes a huge difference. That’s why I think the ladder exchange is such a great idea.”

The initiative is part of the HSE’s Shattered Lives campaign, which aims to reduce the number of fatal and major injuries each year that result from falling from a height. It was was launched in Liverpool by Craig Philips this week, but will be extended to cover the rest of the country over the coming months.

The HSE’s head of work environment, gas and radiation, and gas division, Peter Brown, said: “Over the next few months, businesses will get the chance to get their ladders checked and, where necessary, trade them in for new ones at a heavily discounted price. HSE is working with Local Authorities, ladder manufacturers and retailers to address the safety issues around access equipment with employers and ladder users.

 “We want anyone working at height to use the right ladder for the job and to use it safely. Ladder Exchange is the perfect opportunity for businesses to assess the risks involved in using ladders and to adopt sensible health and safety measures.”

Ladder Association chairman, Don Aers, believes the ladder exchange programme will have a big impact. He said: “Over two million people work on ladders daily in the UK and we want all of those workers to work safely. We enthusiastically support the ladder exchange because it’s an initiative, alongside training, that can really make a difference.”

For further information visit  the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/shatteredlives

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