The Ladder Association’s first ever national conference – Stay one step ahead in your industry – had a capacity audience in attendance at The Midland Hotel, Manchester, on March 10th 2017.
It immediately followed the Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM), at which members received reports from the technical and training committees, together with a marketing presentation announcing a major advertising and PR campaign for 2017 – the biggest in the association’s history – designed to promote safety through training.
Members were also given a first glimpse of the new ladder app which will be officially launched later this year and promises to be a ground-breaking resource for ladder owners and users alike.
The conference began with a panel session Setting the standard which explored and explained the reasons for the changes to international ladder standard EN 131, what the changes are and most importantly, their implications for the ladder industry.
Reference was also made to the new, first-time roof ladder standard – BS 8634, which is due for publication in 2018.
Sharing their knowledge and expertise were panellists Brian Marsh, Chairman of BSI B/512 Ladders Committee and convenor of CEN Technical Committee Working Group 10, and Mark Mayo, Personal Safety Testing Team Manager at the British Standards Institution (BSI).
They were joined by Andy McGrory, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, Health & Safety Executive (HSE), who described the HSE’s role in standards development, and David Walker, Managing Director of ladder manufacturer, Ladder & Fencing Industries (Newent) Ltd, who talked about the changes from a design and manufacturing perspective.
Intended to improve ladder stability and safety, delegates were left in no doubt that the changes to EN 131 are set to shape the future of the ladder industry for the better. A campaign notifying users, specifiers and purchasers on these changes, summarising the information from the conference, will be launched in the coming months.
Ladder Association Technical Manager, Don Aers, provides an overview on EN 131 and Roof Ladder Standards
Next, over lunch, delegates took the opportunity to experience another first – the premier of the association’s brand new animated video highlighting the essentials of safe ladder use. A launch date will be announced shortly.
For the afternoon session Delivering customer change, Andy McGrory was joined by Phil Pinnington, Health and Safety Manager at the Glass and Glazing Federation, Dr Iaonnis Toutoungi, a behavioural safety consultant at Network Rail, and Steve Booker, chairman of the Ladder Association’s training committee.
Together they developed upon the theme of the morning’s session and examined the impact of the changes – in particular, how ladders are specified, purchased and used in the workplace, and the implications for the Ladder Association training scheme.
Summarising the proceedings at the end of the conference, Martin Brooke, chairman of the Ladder Association said: “We wanted to add value to the traditional AMM, but more importantly to inform and educate people about what is happening in our industry.”
“Judging by the numbers and the reaction of delegates so far, this has been our most successful event to date and one which sets a welcome precedent for next year’s conference in Bristol.”
“Above all though, today has reinforced the fact that ladders are a safe, versatile and invaluable piece of workplace equipment, and that the new standard, combined with professional training, can only serve to make them safer.”