External window cleaning and general maintenance operations often require the use of ladders as a means of access. Statistically over 50% of accidents involving ladders occur due to ineffective means of securing and where the duration of work is 30 minutes or less. Generally ladders should only be used as a means of access and not as a working platform. It is essential that three points of contact are maintained and overstretching is avoided.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that "Where a ladder over 6 metres long will be needed, suitable points for tying or fixing the ladder should be provided." Further information concerning access for cleaning is contained within BS 8213: Part 1:2004 Windows, doors and rooflights.
Safesite's Permanent Ladder Restraint System has been designed to secure a ladder against a wall so that maintenance work can be carried out in complete safety. The system features stainless steel"J" hooks which are resin fixed into the structural floor slab or wall. A webbing strap with a hook at one end is then connected to the "J" hooks while the webbing free end threads through the ratchet straps which are connected to each style of the ladder. The system is then tensioned. A short webbing/rope lanyard should be wrapped around a rung and connected to a fall arrest harness via a karabiner to provide the third point of contact. This leaves both hands free to carry out the work.
A visual inspection of the straps must be carried out by a competent person to check for wear and abrasion each time the system is used. The "J" hook and surrounding structure should also be inspected for general deterioration.
There is no legal obligation to pull test the ladder restraint "J" hooks.