Del Boys beware dodgy ladders

RICHARD PARR It became a classic of television comedy - the famous scene in which Del Boy and Rodney attempt to clean a massive glass chandelier in a stately home.

RICHARD PARR

It became a classic of television comedy - the famous scene in which Del Boy and Rodney attempt to clean a massive glass chandelier in a stately home.

When it was first screened, the Touch of Glass episode of the hit comedy, Only Fools and Horses, sent 10m viewers into fits of laughter and still does whenever it is screened today.

Today, a world away from Peckham, one of the magnificent chandeliers in the 180-foot long statue gallery in historic Holkham Hall was being cleaned - but it was no laughing matter.

For hall staff were demonstrating the correct way to use a ladder for such a mammoth cleaning operation.

It was a serious business as the Health and Safety Executive and North Norfolk District Council were promoting a ladder safety campaign.

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One of the aims of the nationwide campaign is to remove 4,000 “dodgy” ladders from workplaces across the country and raise awareness of people in the work place using the right ladder for the job and use it safely.

According to the HSE officials, falls are the biggest cause of fatal injury in Britain's workplaces. The facts are that 24 of the 59 deaths in 2005/06 resulted from a fall from height.

Additionally, nearly 4,000 major injuries, such as broken bones or fractured skulls, are reported to the HSE every year.

Norfolk's HSE principal inspector Eddie Scoggins said: “This campaign is not about banning ladders, we just want anyone working at height to use the right ladder for the job and to use it safely.

“Buildings such as Holkham Hall require a lot of upkeep and maintenance so staff should always consider the risks involved in ladder use and adopt sensible health and safety measures.

Mr Scoggins pointed out that in the East of England 216 workers suffered an injury as a result of a fall from height in the workplace and many of these injuries involved falls from below head height.

He said: “There is still a lot of poor equipment out there and we will make sure we educate people and encourage them to get ride of poor quality ladders from workplaces.

“Simple precautions can save lives and help prevent injuries.”

As part of the Campaign, businesses in Norfolk are being urged to ditch their “dodgy” old ladders and learn more about ladder safety.

A ladder exchange has been organised in Yarmouth by the HSE where old ladders can be traded in for a discount on a new set of ladders. Anyone wanting to exchange their old ladder can take it into the Great Yarmouth Speedy Hire depot on South Denes Road, where it will be fully inspected.

Staff at the depot can then make recommendations about the best alternative product to use for the intended job.

The discount is valid at participating Speedy Hire Tool depots in Norfolk until the end of December this

year.

t For further information about ladder safety visit www.hse.gov.uk/falls/ladderexchange.htm or call Speedy Hire on 0845 6015129.

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