Safety fears have been raised over the use of bamboo poles for drying washing in high- rises after a series of accidents. The Housing Authority has been condemned by a pressure group for ignoring the danger, even after tenants have been injured or killed. On Saturday, a woman in the Wan Tau Tong Estate fell from her 25th floor flat after climbing on to a stool to reach out to adjust a pole full of washing and losing her balance. She landed on a neighbour's clothes rack one floor down and was unhurt. In 1990 a 30-year-old woman fell nine floors to her death after losing her balance while trying to hang out washing. 'Housewives are not strong enough to hold the poles in their present design. So they use a stool to help and that poses a danger,' said Lau Pik-kin, the vice-chairman of the People's Council on Public Housing Policy. He urged the authority to redesign drying poles to avoid further accidents. A Housing Department spokesman admitted about 70 per cent of public housing estates still used the design, and only the newest blocks were equipped with fixed drying racks. He denied accidents were related to poor design. 'Most of the accidents occurred because tenants failed to follow the safety procedures. For example, they should not stand on a stool,' he said. Public housing tenant Lee Yeung Kwok-ying, 60, said she stopped using drying poles for hanging clothes a long time ago. 'I was not strong enough to balance the bamboo stick with wet clothes on it because it was too heavy,' Ms Lee said. 'I won't be able to hang out the clothes without using a stool,' she said.