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Safety Tips When Using a Ladder

Ladders are a crucial bit of equipment for many jobs, both in the workplace and at home. These devices are used to access hard-to-reach places and are easy to move and set up in different locations, making them relatively simple to use. They’re best used for short-duration tasks. If access is needed for a longer period of time, it’s better to build a stable platform or use scaffolding. However, ladders are ideal for providing fast and convenient access, as long as the right safety measures are taken.

Safety Tips When Using a Ladder
Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

All businesses should have safety protocols in place when using equipment such as ladders. Although they might be fairly basic devices, serious accidents and injuries can occur if they’re not used correctly. In this article, we’ll share some key safety tips for using ladders in the workplace.

Regular Inspections

Like any piece of equipment, ladders should be carefully inspected regularly to spot signs of damage. If the ladder is damaged, it may be unsafe to use and lead to an accident, even if employees are using it correctly. Regular inspections help to prevent this and ensure that any required maintenance is carried out when needed.

When inspecting equipment, safety tags should be applied to show when the last inspection took place. This ensures that inspections aren’t missed, and employees can check to see if the equipment has been checked recently before they use it. A ladder inspection tag will keep a record of any maintenance and indicate whether the equipment is safe to use or not.

When there is a chance of a fall that could result in personal injury, ladder and scaffolding tags assist in managing the identification, safety, and upkeep of ladders and scaffolding. They also aid in compliance with the 2005 WAHR (Work at Height Regulations). Scaffolding and ladders must be inspected for wear and tear, defects, and damage on a daily and periodic basis. This is carried out as a programme for risk assessment.

Setting Up the Ladder Correctly

Before the ladder can be used, it’s important to ensure that it’s set up correctly. Failing to set it up in the right way could increase the risk of serious accidents. For stability, ladders should be positioned on a flat, sturdy surface. The surface needs to be strong enough to bear both the weight of the ladder and the user. Leg levellers, wide boards, stabilisers and non-slip gutter guards can all be utilised in situations where the ground is soft.

Aside from the type of surface you’re setting up the ladder on, you should also be mindful of the surroundings. If you’re setting up the ladder in a place with a lot of traffic, you could risk causing an accident. The surrounding area should be clear of obstacles and clutter. If a ladder needs to be set up in a driveway or other busy area, there should be helpers or barriers as well as signage.

The angle of setup is also an important factor to consider. When employing leaning ladders, such as extension ladders, the ladder’s angle should be set at a 1:4 ratio. For every four metres in height, the ladder’s base is one metre away from the structure.

Taking Care on the Ladder

When using a ladder, you should ensure you always climb up and down carefully. Don’t rush, and check that use have three points of contact at all times. This means two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. Avoid sudden movements and stay focused to help prevent accidents.

Be careful when carrying items up and down the ladder, as larger, heavier items can potentially lead to a serious injury if dropped. Consider the load limits of the ladder as well as your own capabilities.

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