02:08 pm, Tuesday 18 June, 2013
WorkSafe Victoria has released a guidance note on the selection and safe use of portable ladders to prevent falls in the construction industry.
Within the construction industry falls have been responsible for a considerable number of both serious and fatal injuries and this includes workers operating at comparatively low heights.
Risk can be eradicated or at least considerably reduced by the careful planning for and implementation of fall protection and appropriate task supervision.
Often ladders are thought of as the primary option when it comes to working at heights however they should only be used when safer alternatives have been considered and ruled out as practical for the work.
Options such as scaffolding, elevated work platforms (EWP) or order pickers (commonly known as chariots) may be safer for the work that is planned.
Portable ladders are considered the least stable tools for working at heights however they are also the most commonly used.
Unlike other options that are classified as passive fall prevention devices when working with portable ladders it is necessary for workers to be more vigilant about the risk of falling when working at heights.
So it is advisable to consider other options before deciding on a ladder and ensure that it offers the best level of protection considering where you will be working.
The way that you can decide this is by using the hierarchy of control for prevention of falls starting at level 1 and assessing whether these controls are practical. If they are not move onto level 2 and all the way to level 5 if necessary until you determine the highest level of control.
For more information and to download the guidance note see the WorkSafe Victoria website.