When working at heights, ensuring your ladder safety is a vital requirement. Simple checks and precautions taken before using a ladder can help reduce the risk when using it and help keep you safe. With over 6,000 deaths and 30,000 injuries caused by falling from ladders every year, safe work procedures for ladders are more important than ever before. Here are just a few tips on how you can keep safe when working at heights:
Inspect your ladder thoroughly before use
Checks for a leaning ladder:
Firstly, when using a ladder, inspect the stiles. If the stiles are bent or split, there's a chance the ladder could collapse as you are using it.
Secondly, check the feet. If the feet are damaged, worn or even missing do not use the ladder as it could slip easily.
Thirdly ensure the rungs are not bent, missing or loose as the ladder could become unstable.
Checks for a step ladder:
Pay attention to the locking bars and ensure they are not bent or worn as the ladder could collapse.
Check the stepladder platform. If the platform is split or damaged, the entire stepladder could collapse. It is best to not use the ladder if the platform is not entirely intact.
Always remember to check the fixings. If they are loose they could fall out while you use the ladder and cause it to collapse.
Ladder Safety Tips
For a leaning ladder:
- Make sure it is the right size for the tasks. If the ladder is not long or high enough for the job at hand, do not use it as overreaching can cause you to loose balance.
- Ensure the ladder angle is at 75 degrees. Use the 4 to 1 rule (see Safety video below).
- When climbing up or down the ladder, be sure to grip and face the rungs.
- Avoid working from the top three rungs as this could make you or the ladder loose balance.
- Be sure to only use ladders on solid ground, not moveable objects.
- Try to avoid to hold items when climbing. A tool belt can be used to carry most things needed.
- Make sure you always have at least 2 points of contact with the ladder. This should be two feet and one hand. Any less can increase the chance of loosing balance greatly.
For a stepladder:
- Be sure to not overreach.
- Avoid working from the top three steps including the platform at the very top of the ladder, unless there is a secure and stable handhold.
- Always make sure all four feet are stable and completely on the ground. If one foot is unbalanced, the stepladder is not safe to use.
- Try to always face the ladder towards the activity. Using a stepladder from the side can be dangerous.
- Maintain three points of contact with the stepladder. If both hands need to be used, the body can become a point of contact.
To help ensure you remember these rules, here's a safety video from Safety Memos about ladder safety:
We hope these safe work procedures for ladders help keep you safe when working at a height! To help you ladder safety, we also stock Ladder Safety Fall Protection Kits here at SafetyLiftinGear. Here's a look at what you can get:
P35 2point Harness
Re-usable Ladder Restraint Tie
25mm wide 1000kg x 6mtr Endless Lashing
PVC Kit Bag
To browse more of our ladder safety kits, just click here!