4 Sep 2009

Ladder Exchange - Have you checked yours?

Following on from some of my recent posts about the current Ladder Exchange Initiative that is being hosted by the HSE until the end of this year, I was hoping to try and gauge how many people are actually taking advantage of this opportunity.

To recap, the idea is that any UK business can check their ladders, and if found to be damaged or faulty, they have the opportunity to exchange it for a new replacement ladder at a discounted price.

Personally, I think this is a fantastic campaign as it works on two levels: It encourages ladder inspections and it offers something back (up to 50% off a new set of ladders) to those that do.

Everyone loves a bargain, and tying it in with a strong health and safety message can only be a good thing for your business. So if you have carried out an inspection as a result of hearing about this campaign, or if you have swapped your old ladder for a new one as part of Ladder Exchange then please let me know and share your comments with other like-minded individuals.

Naturally we feel that by using Good to Go Safety inspection systems we can help to prevent the potentially fatal use of faulty ladders or alternative 'working at heights' equipment such as MEWPs (cherry pickers etc). To find out more about our ladder systems visit http://www.goodtogosafety.co.uk/ladder.php

Below you can find a transcript from an HSE Q&A session regarding the ladder exchange, or for more information about the Initiative visit the HSE website which has a section dedicated to this year's Ladder Exchange Initiative:

Q You’re involved in this campaign that the HSE is running at the moment about ladders and getting, is it getting free ladders, new ladders?

A It’s not getting free ladders but what we’re saying is if you’ve got a ladder which is broken or damaged or bent rather than using it and putting yourself at risk or your workers at risk you can actually take it in to one of our sort of partner companies and you can exchange it and what these companies have agreed to do is actually to give a discount against the value of the new ladder. In some areas they’re giving as much as 50% off so we’re just encouraging people to rather than keeping broken ladders or using them to take them in to one of the participating outlets and then swap them for a new one.

Q Have you done this before?

A We’ve run it for 2 years now and to date we’ve had over five and half thousand ladders have been exchanged so we’re really hoping to build on that. We’ve got more participating outlets, more companies on board with us this year. Because of the success we’ve had so far we’re actually going to run it as an annual initiative now so it’ll run every year.

Q Can I ask you, we’ve all got a kind of image in our mind haven’t we of people falling off ladders you know sort of comedy moments Norman Wisdom that kind of thing.

A Yeah.

Q But I mean how much of a problem are ladders at work? How much of a hazard are they really.

A Obviously they can be a hazard. We do find a lot of them lying around and for no particular reason sometimes. We ask about them, what do you use your ladders for and they just say oh they’ve been there for ages. We don’t, we don’t use them so we’re trying to encourage people to, to think a bit more about the jobs they use and not just grab a ladder when they think they need one.

Q You’re not just saying that ladders are supposed to be safe which is what you were saying. What you’re saying is actually try not to use them, try and think about the job that you’re doing. Well what would you use instead of a ladder, can you give me an example?

A Yeah there’s a number of things. Depending on the length/duration of the job if you’re going to do something, do something on a regular basis that involved work at height then investing in mobile tower scaffold that you can move around would be a good example. Larger companies go for things like MEWPs and cherry pickers and scissor lifts so that they can control the work at height more safely.

Q So if, you know if I was an employer and I wanted to take advantage of this project that you’re running what, what would I do?

A Well you can take your ladder or ladders along to any one of the participating outlets and basically you can exchange them for new ones and there’s all of these different discounts which vary by partner company. If you visit the HSE website we’ve actually got a ladder exchange webpage on there which details all of the companies involved and the different sorts of discounts that they’re offering as well. So you literally take your ladder along, the companies are recycling the dodgy ladders as well so you won’t get them back. They’re taken away and recycled and then you’ll walk away with a new ladder as well which means you’ll be able to use it to work at height safely.

Transcript Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/podcasts/2009/ladder-trans.htm (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence).

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