New Guide 'Practical alternatives to using stepladders'

The British Electrical Contractors' Association has produced a guide on
'Practical alternatives to using stepladders'.

Falls from height lead to serious injuries, not only to electrical contractors
but to workers across the specialist engineering contracting industry. This
guide is designed to help contractors (and others) to establish whether
stepladders can still be a reasonably practicable solution to the task in hand.
For situations where the use of steps is considered the reasonably practicable
option, it also looks at how steps should be used to reduce the risk of injury.
It complements a second guide that discusses practical alternatives to
stepladders that are available to contractors.

It seems clear that for a range of jobs, the days of "turning up with some
steps”, without considering the alternatives beforehand, are numbered.
Stepladders will still be the preferred method of work for some short or tricky
jobs. However, there will be many situations where other means of access to
work at height will have to be considered, and used.

The guide contains information on:

  • Planning and risk assessment
  • Choosing temporary access equipment
  • Competency, training and changing behavior
  • Using stepladders

The key messages are:

  • Consider the whole job
  • Plan the work
  • Keep an open mind about practical alternatives to stepladders (steps)
  • Communicate if possible with the client or major contractor -confirm if
    they have any plans or expectations about access
  • While using steps can be justified on a practical basis, you must show you
    considered the suitability of safer alternatives
  • If using steps, be clear as to why you have selected them -you may need to
    justify it - particularly if there is an accident
  • Always consider if the risk of harm can be reduced in any other way before
    opting for protection by using harnesses.

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work