By Soni Sheimar, General Manager, Easi-Dec Access Systems Ltd
Last week, with many people starting to carry out exterior maintenance and decorating of properties, I outlined some simple safety tips for using leaning ladders. This week I’m continuing this theme, with some tips on how to use stepladders safely.
Safe Use of Stepladders
♦ As with a leaning ladder you must carry out pre-use checks to identify any defects or damages which could prevent safe use.
♦ Make sure that the stepladder’s feet are in contact with firm ground and that the steps are level
♦ Check that locking mechanisms are engaged before stepping onto the ladder
♦ Only stand or work on the top three steps if you have a suitable handhold
♦ Only carry light materials and tools, you and anything you carry must not exceed the load stated for the stepladder
♦ Never over reach. If you can’t reach the work area, move the stepladder
♦ Place the ladder face on to the work area, not side on unless a risk assessment shows it is safer to work in this position, such as where there are space restrictions
♦ Try not to do work that will impose side loading on the stepladder. If this isn’t possible then make sure the steps cannot slip by tying them or use another form of access equipment
♦ Maintain 3 points of contact when working, preferably two feet and one hand. If both hands need to be free for a short period then keep two feet on the same step and support the body by the stepladder
Using a stepladder without a handhold
If you need to use a stepladder but you’re unable to maintain a handhold, such as putting a box on a shelf, then you need to take into account the following before justifying the use of a stepladder:
♦ If there’s a safe handhold on the stepladder
♦ If the task being undertaken is light work
♦ Whether you can avoid side loading
♦ If the task does not require over reaching
♦ Whether your feet are fully supported
♦ If you can tie the stepladder
Following these simple steps can help you work safely off stepladders, and remember a stepladder should never be used for access to another level unless it has been designed for this.
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.
For the final part of the top tips for ladder safety, series, I’ll be looking at the range of accessories which are available to help you work safely, and how you can carry out tasks that take longer than 30 minutes using certain types of ladders.