Llandovery can now welcome the festive season in style, with Christmas set to return to ledges over shop fronts and above the market hall.
In October, the Guardian revealed how health and safety regulations had snuffed out the town’s traditional Christmas tree displays, but an organisation offering advice on the use of ladders has said the town will be looking good this year after all.
Town councillors were concerned that the health and safety regulations meant that ladders could no longer be used to put up the Christmas trees and that alternative forms of access were too expensive.
Determined there was to be no Christmas blackout, Philip Davies, Head of Public Protection at the county council, in consultation with the Ladder Association, devised a solution for the Llandovery Christmas tree committee involving the use of an “I” bolt and a quick-release safety clip attached to the ladder.
“It is a victory for common sense,” said Mr Davies.
“It is important to interpret the Work at Height Regulations correctly and separate fact from fiction. Ladders are not banned and, subject to proper risk assessment, can continue to be used for work of low risk and short duration.”
David Walker of the Ladder Association said: “We did the risk assessment and came up with this straightforward, cost-effective solution.
“We have recently been involved in a number of similar cases nation-wide where misinterpretation at local level has resulted in unnecessary restrictions on ladder use and a resultant increase in global risk and, of course, cost.
“The replacement of one of the existing Christmas tree bracket bolts with a suitably rated “I” bolt, together with an adjustable lashing strap and clip attached to the ladder, will allow Llandovery town council to install the trees at minimum risk.”
To assist local authorities and town councils like Llandovery, the Ladder Association has published a free Ladder Book containing “Ten things you need to know about ladders”. It can be obtained free by visiting ladderassociation.org.uk The association is also happy to work with organisations to develop practical, affordable solutions involving the continued use of ladders and stepladders.