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Daily Express - Elizabeth Gibby responds

The Editor
Daily Express
The Northern and Shell Building
10 Lower Thames Street

24 October 2005

Dear Sir

The electricians working in church were not simply changing bulbs but replacing fittings, a longer, trickier job that involved drilling into stone walls (Change a lightbulb? £1,300 thanks to EU, 19 October).

The company assessed the risk of using ladders and concluded that if someone fell 40 feet onto a stone floor they would almost certainly be killed. In a radio interview last week, the company's director said his decision to use scaffolding was not due to the Working at Height Directive; he would have done so anyway, as the risks associated with using ladders were too great.

We're very pleased that Father Sutch plans to use longer-lasting bulbs and make the fittings easier to reach. This is exactly the sort of preventative action the Directive is designed to prompt.

13 workers died as a result of falling from a ladder last year and over 1200 were seriously injured. Sensible health and safety is about assessing risks and taking appropriate action. If more companies did this, deaths and serious injuries would be drastically reduced.

Yours faithfully

Elizabeth Gibby
Director, Injuries Reduction Programme
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2013-01-23