Press Disregard Health And Safety To Snap Royal Baby

It’s been eight long months since the nation were informed that
the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting their
first baby
, and now the wait is over.

As excitement at the prospect of a new royal grew, so too did the
collection of step ladders opposite the Lindo Wing.

It seems surprising that with such a long time to prepare for this
momentous event, the world’s press did not have a more
professional, safer solution.

A quick look at images of the men and women precariously balanced
on top of these ladders shows the photographers, and camera
operators are prepared to take a significant fall risk to capture
that all important first shot. We understand you’re doing this to
get us the best shot but – is it worth it?

The number one rule to ensure safety when using a step ladder is
to maintain three points of contact. This can be achieved
with both feet and one hand, or both feet and the body leaning
against the “D-ring”.Media flaunts health and safety

Since the people using these ladders need both hands to operate
the camera, they are relying on leaning their body into the step ladder to
maintain their balance. However, in their enthusiasm to get a good
view, many climb so high that their body provides little contact
area with the stepladder.

Guidelines from the Health and Safety Executive recommend using
tools no heavier than 10kg when working on a stepladder. The
average Electronic News Gathering camera weighs between 3kg and
9kg, so falls inside the limit. However, leaning forward, or
overreaching, especially while carrying something so heavy can
cause a fall.

Many press photographers are freelancers, but that doesn’t exclude
them from need to take sensible precautions, as the 2005 Work At
Height Regulations apply equally to employers and the
self-employed.

With so many people jostling for position in such a small area,
just one faller could result in multiple casualties.

If you are working at height, particularly when using heavy or
cumbersome equipment, you should consider using a work platform. It
may require more effort to erect, and could occupy a larger floor
space, but is a safer, more stable solution.

Here at Sterk Systems we always put safety first, but, of course
we too will be keeping a close look out for that first snap of this
royal baby boy! And if you get a photo of the photographers’
ladders collapsed in a heap – please send it in!