*******www.work-accidentclaims****** - The Health and Safety Executive has launched a new initiative, Ladder Exchange, which runs from September until the end of November. Since the organisation started the exchange in 2007 over 8,000 faulty ladders have already been taken out of use, being replaced by more practical models and the HSE says it's a pressing need for companies to act before it is too late. It says it is proven to be an easy and simple method of replacing broken ladders and trading them for a newer, safer version.<br /><br />There was a sad reminder of the necessity for firms to tackle the difficulty of working from height as, within the same week the Ladder Exchange was launched, a self-employed roofing contractor was given a suspended prison sentence when a friend of his died when falling off the roof of a garage.<br /><br />The man, James Waughman, was replacing a flat roof on a double garage when he suffered a stroke and fell from a gap within the rafters, suffering multiple injuries. He died 3 weeks following the accident. His friend, Steve Mason, received an eight-month prison sentence and was ordered to also pay costs after admitting breaching section 3 (2) from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This initiative could help reduce the number of *******www.work-accidentclaims****** if employers update their ladders to modern models that have better safety designs.<br /><br />The HSE says that in the four years after the exchange began, the business has developed so it is now at a stage where its partners are successfully delivering the initiative with relatively little involvement through the HSE. The executive also says that its 2011 exchange is the last in which it has direct involvement.<br /><br />The necessity for the initiative remains a pressing one as falls from height are still the most frequent cause of deaths in the workplace with figures for 2008/09 showing there were 35 fatalities, 4,654 severe injuries and another 7,065 injuries that led to the injured person having to be off work for three days or longer. The figures also show that around a third of all falls from height are caused by falls from a ladder.<br /><br />Health and safety legislation doesn't require ladders to be banned, but does stress work from height should be undertaken as safely as possible with the safety figures in mind. The HSE says that for work which ought to only take a short time, ladders can be used so long as these are at a sufficient height, they are able to accommodate the body weight of the person and the load, plus the person making use of the ladder can maintain three points of contact.<br /><br />The HSE says the exchange actually promotes ladders as a perfectly acceptable means of working at height provided that those making use of them have carried out a risk assessment, as a means of making sure that the correct ladder for that particular purpose can be used and that training is available to make sure that those using the ladder are in control.<br /><br />The Ladder Association also provides details on how to use ladders safely and stresses the ladder should be tall enough for the job for which it's been provided and that it should not overreach. It says that simple tasks which take longer than 30 minutes in one position are usually not suitable to utilise ladder and that other work equipment should be considered if that's the situation. The Ladder Association adds that planning is the key and that the successful finishing of the Ladder Association training course shows proof of competence.