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Neglecting Ladder Safety Threatens Workers’ Lives

When it comes to working at height, safety is paramount. Access ladders play a crucial role in providing secure means of ascent and descent for workers across various industries. Neglecting the details can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities from slips and falls, which are among the most common and deadly workplace accidents. 


Sadly, slips and trips are responsible for over a third of all reported major injuries, and astonishingly the cost to UK employers of these accidents is £512 million per year.


In this blog, we’ll explore the essential safety regulations governing fixed access ladders in the UK and how Kite Group's ladder solutions meet and exceed these standards. Whether you’re a safety professional, a contractor, a facilities manager, or just need to know about ladder safety, this blog will equip you with valuable insights. So, let’s climb up the ladder of knowledge together!





Prioritising Safety

By prioritising ladder safety, organisations demonstrate their commitment to creating a safe work environment, fostering a culture of safety that can enhance employee morale and productivity. And compliance with safety laws protects you against potential legal and financial penalties that can arise from workplace accidents.


You should care about the details of ladder safety not only for compliance reasons but because it fundamentally protects your most valuable asset: the people in your workforce.


Properly maintained and designed fixed ladders reduce the likelihood of accidents, ensuring that employees can perform their duties without undue risk. This attention to safety details reflects the organisation's dedication to its employees' health and safety, which can significantly impact the company's reputation and operational efficiency.


Long-term cost savings will be realised by reducing the frequency and severity of accidents, lowering insurance premiums, and minimising downtime caused by injury-related absences. Ultimately, prioritising ladder safety is a proactive approach that benefits both employees and your organisation as a whole.




Fixed ladders - BS 4211:2005+A1:2008

BS 4211 specifies requirements for ladders with single bar rungs that are intended to be fixed permanently to structures. These structures can include chimneys, silos, and bins, providing safe means of access.


Permanent Ladders & Walkways - BS 5395-3:1985

This standard BS 5395-3:1985, known as the Code of Practice for the design of industrial type stairs, permanent ladders, and walkways, provides guidelines for designing safe access systems. It ensures that access ladders meet safety requirements and are suitable for their intended use.


Safety and Compliance on Fixed Ladders

Fixed ladders are a common sight on construction sites across the UK. However, ensuring their safety and compliance with health and safety standards is crucial. Here’s what you need to know:


1. Pre-Use Checks:


Before using a ladder, perform these checks:


• Ensure there are no items that could cause slips, trips, falls, or impact hazards.

• Verify that all fixings are secure.

• Check that moving parts are in working order.

• Inspect rungs and hoops for damage.


These pre-use checks establish a baseline level of quality but don’t fully meet regulatory responsibilities.


2. Third-Party Inspections:


At least once a year, you need to have a competent and trained third-party professional inspect your ladder. The inspection includes:


  • Verifying that the ladder is not used where a conventional staircase would be practical.

  • Ensuring the ladder is soundly constructed, well-maintained, and securely fixed.

  • Checking rigidity and stability under normal conditions.

  • Confirming that handrails extend at least 1100 mm above the landing.

  • Ensuring stiles extend to the height of guarding.

  • Checking that the ladder doesn’t exceed 6 m without an intermediate landing.

  • Assessing the need for hoops and fall protection (e.g., cages) based on the risk of falling more than 2 m.


3. Specific Requirements for Fixed Ladders:


  • Hoops: If the ladder exceeds 2.5m, you must have fixed hoops to enhance safety.

  • Fall Protection: Install cages or other fall protection if there’s a risk of falling more than 2 m.

  • Hoops Spacing: Hoops should be a maximum of 900 mm apart.

  • Handrails and Stiles: Handrails should extend at least 1100 mm above the landing, and stiles should match the height of guarding.

  • Rungs: Rungs should withstand 1.5 kn and have a diameter of 20-35 mm.

  • Spacing Between Stringers: The width between the stringers should be between 300 mm (400 mm preferred).

  • Top Rung: The top rung should be level with the platform.

  • Rise Between Rungs: The rise between rungs should be between 225 mm and 300 mm.

  • Clear Space: There should be a minimum 200 mm clear space behind each rung and at least 600 mm on the user side.




In the all-important environment of workplace safety, fixed access ladders play a serious role. Kite Group, a trusted name in ladder solutions, stands at the forefront of compliance. Our commitment to meeting and exceeding safety standards ensures that workers ascend and descend with confidence.


To make this relevant to your site conditions, we offer two reliable access ladder solutions:


This prefabricated system is suitable for various industries, including airports, petrochemical plants, airports, waste water works, and more. Each kit includes a ladder, hoops, side bars, landing, ‘F’ plates, ladder stays, and bolts.




 

Lightweight yet extraordinarily strong and with the added benefits of being non-corrosive, these ladders are designed for working at height. They are suitable for electrical environments and ideal for outdoor use.





Both ladder solutions contribute to workplace safety and efficiency. They conform to dimensional requirements set by BS 4211 and BS 5395, ensuring safety and quality.

 

If you have any specific questions or need to speak to a product expert, feel free to get in touch.  

 

Follow Kite Group on LinkedIn to read about Kite’s posts and commitment to sustainability.


We offer Bespoke Service, Technical Support and Same Day Dispatch! Get in Touch today!

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