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Work At Height Regulations (WAHR)

Work at height means work in any place from which a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury, if measures required by these Regulations were not taken. Any reference to carrying out work at height includes obtaining access to or egress from such a place while at work (except by a Staircase in a permanent work place)

The responsibility has been placed on every employer, the self-employed and any person who controls the work of others involved in Work at Height, to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare at work of all his/her employee’s. It is the employer’s duty to ensure:

  • Providing Plant and equipment is safe and maintained
  • Arranging for the plant or equipment to be handled, stored and transported without risking injury or the health of employees
  • To provide information, instruction and Training to use the equipment safely.
  • Maintaining a safe working environment where the equipment will be used.
  • Making arrangements of facilities for the employee’s welfare at work.

A person can be injured when falling from any height above floor level but with correct training and regular equipment inspections these incidents can be prevented.

Equipment Selection

Ladders are classified according to the general conditions and possible frequency of use:

Class Applications
BS2037 / Class 1 BS1129 Heavy Duty & Industrial
EN131 / BSEN131 Trade / Light Industrial
BS2037 Class 3 Domestic Use

Industrial Ladders: For heavy duty where relatively high frequency and onerous conditions of use, carriage and storage occur. BS2037 Class 1 and BS1129 Class 1 ladders are suitable for industrial applications.

Trade / Light Industrial Ladders: For medium duty where relatively low frequency and reasonably good conditions of use, carriage and storage occur. BS EN131 ladders are suitable for light trade applications. In addition, the higher rated BS2037 Class 1 and BS1129 Class 1 ladders can also be used for light trade applications.

Domestic Ladders: For light duty where frequency of use is low and good carriage and storage conditions occur. BS2037 Class 3 and BS1129 Class 3 ladders are suitable for domestic applications. BS2037 Class 3 and BS1129 Class 3 ladders ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR ANY LIGHT TRADES, TRADE OR INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS

Ladder and steps are manufactured in aluminium, steel, wood or fibreglass. They all have particular and individual properties that make them suitable for some applications and unsuitable for others.

Aluminium
Aluminium ladders and steps are lightweight and so easy to move around and position. They should not be used where there is a risk of electrical shock as they are very good conductors of electricity.

Fibreglass & Wood
If you working where there is any risk of electric shock you should consider using a ladder or step made from fibreglass or wood. These materials have electrically isolating properties but they must be kept dry and clean to ensure their non-conductive properties are maintained. Wooden ladders must have some moisture content otherwise they will crack. However if the moisture content is too great they will conduct electricity.

Steel
Steel Ladders are generally heavy and therefore difficult to move around, However, their weight and durability may be suitable for longer-term temporary access in scaffolding applications.

Make sure the ladder or step you intend to use is long enough (or tall enough) for the job. Never overreach and never stand a ladder or step on boxes, bricks, blocks or similar items to gain extra height!

Get the right product!

Ladders:

  • Always select your ladder so that it is long enough
  • The fully extended length of a ladder shown in the catalogue or on the label is not the Maximum Safe Working Height.
  • Different extension ladders will have different section overlaps. Check the manufacturers’ data or the product label to find out the fully extended length.
  • You need to allow additional length for the working angle of 65-75 degrees.
  • Remember to allow at least 1.0m pf ladder to extend beyond the highest rung that you will stand on. This means that you can always hold onto the ladder with one hand.

Steps:

  • Always select your step so that it is tall enough to avoid overreaching.
  • The open or closed height of a step shown in the catalogue or on the label is not the Maximum Safe Working Height. You need to allow additional height because you should not stand on the top 2 or 3 treads or the top of the step. This means that you can always hold onto the step with one hand.
  • On Platform Steps you may stand on the platform to work but never climb onto the handrail.
  • If the product is labelled to indicate the last climbing rung, always follow the instructions and never stand above this rung.

Remember: Always use the 3 points of contact – Hands and Feet rule.

Ladders and steps come in several different types:

  • Ladders are available as single section ladders, and 2 and 3 section extension ladders.
  • Some extension ladders are fitted with ropes and wheels at the top to enable the upper sections to be extended easily.
  • Steps are available with (Platform Steps) or without platforms (Swingback Steps)
  • Combination Ladders are available in 2 and 3 sections and may be used either as extension ladders or steps.

Make sure it’s not one of yours using a badly maintained piece of equipment, or not having the knowledge of how to use the equipment correctly.

You don’t have to have lots of employee’s to have accidents it only takes ONE!

DON’T RISK IT, IT’S NOT WORTH IT!

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