By Soni Sheimar, General Manager, Easi-Dec Access Systems Ltd
It’s estimated that falls from ladders account for almost a third of all injuries and cost the UK economy around £60 million every year. This time of year many of us will be starting to think about maintenance jobs that need doing, so with this in mind we thought we’d offer you some simple safety tips on using ladders and stepladders that will hopefully help you avoid becoming a statistic.
Preparing a leaning ladder for use
Carry out pre-use checks to identify any defects or damages which could prevent safe use. Areas to inspect include the stiles, feet, rungs, steps/treads, platform and locking mechanisms.
♦ Make sure the ladder is long enough or high enough for the specific task
♦ Make sure the ground is firm and level and clear of any debris
♦ Place the ladder against a solid surface; never rest it against plastic guttering or a window. If there are obstructions, suitable ladder accessories such as a ladder stand-off will allow you to by-pass obstacles.
♦ Secure the ladder by tying it to the building to prevent it from slipping outwards or sideways.
♦ If a ladder cannot be tied in then use a suitable stability device such as ladder spurs or an anchor fix.
Using a leaning ladder safely
♦ Only use the ladder for short duration work (maximum 30 minutes)
♦ Set the ladder at 75° angle by using the 1 in 4 rule (1 unit out for every 4 units up)
♦ Make sure the ladder is secure, either by fitting ladder spurs (footing) or tied into the building.
♦ Always grip the ladder and face the ladder rungs when ascending or descending and NEVER slide down the stiles.
♦ Maintain 3 points of contact when working, preferably two feet and one hand.
♦ Never leave the ladder unattended
♦ Never over reach, if you find you’re unable to reach the area where you want to work, move the ladder.
♦ Use warning signs around the area you are working to protect both yourself and the general public
♦ Make sure all tools and equipment are secured (in a tool belt) when working on or going up and down the ladder
Whatever the task, whether it’s cleaning gutters, painting the exterior of a building or fitting new fascias, correct equipment selection and usage is crucial. Selecting the right equipment for the task will help you to avoid over reaching and will enable you to work safely at height off of ladders.
If you have any questions about ladder safety or are unsure about what equipment you should use when working at height, please call us on Tel: 01767 691812.
Next week, I’ll be looking at top tips for safe use of Stepladders.