Lock up your ladders, businesses have been told - or be prepared to pay the price.
All Birmingham businesses need to review the safety of staff who work at height - after new regulations were introduced in a bid to cut deaths from workplace accidents.
That's the warning being issued by health and safety law expert Ron Reid, a partner at law firm Shoosmiths.
Mr Reid issued the advice after the introduction of the new Work At Height Regulations 2005, which came into force in April, and threaten huge fines - or even prison - for companies found to be negligent following an accident.
And he says it would be a costly mistake for businesses to assume that the new legislation only applies to employers whose staff permanently work at height.
He explained: "In 2003-4, falls from height caused 67 fatal workplace accidents, and nearly 4,000 serious injuries. They remain the largest single cause of deaths at work - and something urgently needed to be done to reduce the number of accidents taking place.
"The regulations apply to all work carried out at height - including below ground level - where there is a risk of personal injury being caused by a fall; the height at which the fall can occur is irrelevant. The new rules place duties on employers, the self-employed, and anyone who controls the work of others, such as facilities managers or building owners who contract people such as window cleaners.
"Therefore, work at any height must now be properly planned, supervised, and carried out in a safe manner. Appropriate work equipment is essential, as is taking consideration of adverse or dangerous weather conditions.
" Ultimately, managers need to ask themselves if the work actually needs to be carried out at height. If so, they must carry out and record a risk assessment and method statement for carrying out the task - and ensure that those carrying out the work are competent, properly trained and medically fit."
Around 13 workplace accidents a day are caused by falls from ladders, and as a result, ladders receive particular attention in the new regulations. This includes: n Ladders only being used for work at height if a risk assessment positively proves that the use of more suitable equipment is not justified. nControls on the ad hoc, unsupervised use of ladders on site. nActive consideration being given to the alternative use of small platforms, podiums, mobile elevated platforms and scaffold towers.
In addition, other aspects of working at height are now subject to new restrictions, such as roof work, fragile surfaces, scaffolding, the use of powered access equipment, and falling people and objects.
These must now be made safer through the use of guardrails and working platforms, nets and airbags, and personal fall protection such as restraints and rope access.
Mr Reid went on: "Health and Safety law is regularly policed and rigorously enforced, and in view of the large number of fatal and serious injuries caused by falls from height, it is unlikely that we will see any honeymoon period given by enforcement authorities."