This year sees responsibility for running and developing the annual UK Ladder Exchange (LE) transfer from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to the Ladder Association.

The scheme, set up in 2007, is designed to encourage companies to replace broken, damaged or bent ladders and trade them in for safe new ones.

It is part of Shattered Lives, a wider HSE campaign to help reduce slips, trips and falls from height in the workplace. Under LE, HSE teamed up with a number of businesses, which each offer ladders at a discounted price.

In 2011 the initiative was run over a three-month period, from 1 September to 30 November. Throughout the campaign HSE and local authority inspectors include ladder checks as part of their routine inspections and encourage people with faulty or damaged ladders to exchange them for new ones.

The HSE says that since the LE's introduction more than 8000 "dodgy" ladders have been removed from the workplace as a direct result of the initiative.

Geoffrey Podger HSE chief executive said, "The ladder exchange has proved a real success. If you take a chance with 'dodgy' ladders you are risking your life. Every month more than 100 people fall off a ladder at work and suffer serious injuries. So many of these accidents are avoidable and having safe equipment makes a huge difference."

Last year, the HSE announced it would have no further direct involvement in the delivery of the programme as of 2012.The Ladder exchange says that following the successful completion of the handover a major announcement will be made about the future format of the initiative. Companies wishing to take part can register their interest with jill.couttie@ladderassociation.org.uk.

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