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ATLAS releases ladder safety handbook

ATLAS (The Association of Technical Lighting and Access Specialists) has released a new industry standard/guide for the safe use of temporary vertical ladders, aimed at educating the specialist sector of the construction industry.
The new standard/guide condenses previous information into a single guide and brings together the different types of systems used throughout the UK into one document. It also explains how the various systems used previously in different parts of the UK have developed into the modern techniques used today.

ATLAS hopes this will help to standardise the techniques that are used when laddering so that, whatever part of the country or industry the work is carried out in, there will be a consistent standard and all operatives will have a good general knowledge about the systems they are using.

The guide includes planning for safety when working at height, types of ladders, inspection, fixing ladders to structures, different types of structures, fall protection, training and competency and terminology.

'This ground-breaking ATLAS handbook will lead the way in bringing other related practises in the industry together until eventually all these techniques have a common standard which will be used as best practise,' said Graeme Fisher, president of ATLAS.

At present, companies often operate without being aware of what developments have taken place in the industry. So, ATLAS took the initiative in creating this handbook to show these developments and to let other stakeholders in the industry be aware of how it is moving forward in terms of best practises and standards.

ATLAS also felt it was essential to show the way forward in terms of health and safety to help provide a safe workplace for all operatives and others affected by height operations.

ATLAS hopes that by creating this guide that the whole industry will further embrace the improved systems that comply with health and safety standards and recognise the need to have a consistent set of rules which are maintained by all companies and their employee's, which demonstrates to clients that the height and steeplejack industry is continually moving forward.

'My role in creating the guide was to combine my previous experience in overseeing challenging and prestigious contracts during the last year 30 years with my current role in health and safety which involves the production of documents for various organisations by creating a template and format that ATLAS committee members could work with,' said Colin Watt, ATLAS safety consultant.

The document will be reviewed by the HSE for comment before finally being released to the industry later this year.

More than 4,000 employees suffered a major injury as a result of a fall from height in 2008/09 (Source: HSE). ATLAS would like to urge all construction and height operatives to read this guide carefully as it may save lives.
11 August 2010


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