how do you know if a ladder is safe

Whether you're using a ladder for the first time or the 100th time, it's important that you know whether the ladder is safe before you start climbing. Ladder accidents are far more common than you might think, and in some circumstances, they can be fatal. That's why we're always encouraging you to use your ladders safely! Today we're going to look at some of the things you should check to determine if a ladder is safe to use.

Check that you've got the right ladder for the job

There are lots of people who think that there's a "one size fits all" approach to using ladders - but that simply isn't the case. To know whether your ladder is safe to use, you should first start by looking at its specifications.

  • Is it the right kind of ladder?
  • Is it the right height?
  • Can it support your weight? 
  • Is the workspace large enough for the job at hand?

If you find that the answer to any of these questions is no, then you should probably consider ordering a more appropriate ladder before you get started.

Risk assessment: Is your ladder safe?

How do you know if a ladder is safe? Well, when you've ensured that you've got the right ladder for the job, your next important job is to carry out a risk assessment. Physically checking the ladder before you use it is the only way you can ever guarantee that your ladder is safe. So, how do you go about it? We've covered a step ladder risk assessment in detail before, and the same principles can be applied to any ladder you're using. Here are the main things you should check:

  • Are there any signs of wear and tear on your ladder? 
  • Is your working area safe? Are there any obvious hazards eg. uneven or loose ground?
  • Will you need any additional tools? Do you have a safe method of transporting them up and down your ladder?
  • Can you estimate how long you'll be working on the ladder? If it's longer than 30 mins, can you factor in suitable breaks?

If you identify any of the risks outlined above, you need to put some precautions and solutions in place before you attempt to carry out the task at hand. A damaged ladder, uneven floor, or prolonged period of working at height can put you at serious risk of an injury, so you should never skip over the risk assessment if you don't know if a ladder is safe.

More on ladder safety:

If you don't know if a ladder is safe - don't use it! We'd always recommend edging on the side of caution and acquiring a new ladder that you KNOW is safe before undertaking any work at height. For more information about the ladders that we offer, drop us an email - sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

Tools on Roof

To increase the health and longevity of your building's roof, it is recommended that you conduct a roof inspection around twice a year. In some cases, not inspecting your roof and leaving it in a dire state can void your roof's warranty if you were ever to make a claim. So, it is vital that you carry out regular roof maintenance to avoid any unnecessary stress and issues in the future. 

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If you ever have to work outdoors, the weather conditions that you find yourself in can have a tremendous effect on your overall safety, especially when high winds are involved. 

The wind is often a neglected and ignored weather condition when working outside, most likely down to the fact that it is invisible and as such is not top of the mind. However, despite us not being physically able to see high winds, they have the ability to cause real damage to anyone that is caught working in them, especially if you're on a ladder!

So, how do you keep yourself safe when working in windy conditions? Ladders UK Direct are here to give you some easy ladder safety tips that help minimise the risks involved with working outdoors in high winds.

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Hop-up step

Need a bit of extra height while working? A ladder isn't always the most practical solution - sometimes, it's both quicker and safer to use a hop-up work platform.

We offer a selection of sturdy aluminium hop-ups here at Ladders UK Direct. The best one? Well, that depends on your requirements...

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diy in lockdown

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, DIY projects have become increasingly popular. With more time at home and very few things to entertain us, it only makes sense that you tackle some of the home improvements that you've been putting off. In normal circumstances, you might have hired a professional to get the job done properly. However, tradesmen are busier than ever and we're being advised to limit our interactions where possible, so a DIY approach might be preferable this time around.

Luckily, a lot of DIY stores like B&Q, Halfords, and (most importantly) Ladders UK Direct are still trading, which means you can get your hands on the materials and equipment you need. Shop Ladders Now >

If this is your first time doing any kind of home DIY, you might be following YouTube tutorials and 'winging it' to a certain extent - which creates some pretty serious safety concerns. Tradespeople with years of experience and knowledge are able to manage the risks properly. In comparison, your average Joe following a YouTube tutorial might make one wrong move and end up damaging their home, or worse, injuring themselves. In this blog, we're going to take a look at some of the safety precautions you can take to reduce your risk of DIY injuries during lockdown.

 

Do a risk assessment

Before you start any DIY job you should carry out a risk assessment. Professional tradespeople always do them to make sure that all the potential risks are managed. Now, we're not expecting you to fill in paperwork, but you should definitely take some time to look a the job, the tools and equipment, and the working area before you get started. 

A lot of people decide they want to do a DIY job and just dive right into it without any forward planning - this is where accidents occur. It's good that you're keen to get things done, but your safety always has to come first!

We've gone into detail to show you how a step ladder risk assessment should be carried out, but the same steps can be applied to any kind of DIY risk assessment.

  • Identify potential hazards
  • Come up with solutions to eliminate the hazards

For example: "My ladder is missing a couple of rungs, which means I'll struggle to climb to the correct height safely"

Solution: Don't use a ladder that's damaged, order a new one and make sure it's in good working order before you start your DIY project.

Some potential DIY risks to be aware of

You might think that most DIY jobs come without risk, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Every DIY job comes with risks, some are just more obvious than others. Here are a few risks that you might not have considered...

Painting and/or putting up wallpaper 

Check that the room you're decorating has adequate ventilation. A lot of people start decorating with the windows and doors clothes and end up giving themselves a severe headache from the fumes!

Putting up pictures/shelves

Drilling directly into a wall blindly is a definite risk. Check that you're not going to hit any important wires or cables by investing in a cable detector.

Electrics/wiring

The risks that come along with electrical DIY can be life-threatening. We'd recommend using a fibreglass ladder to reduce your risk of electric shock. If in doubt, always seek the help of a professional electrician.

Avoid doing unnecessary/overly-dangerous DIY

One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of injury is to assess each DIY job and decide whether or not the risk you're taking is absolutely essential. If you're not confident that you can complete a DIY project safely, it might be best to avoid doing it at all. 

Ending up in the hospital right now will put more pressure on the NHS and also increases your chances of catching COVID-19, so, if in doubt - leave it to the professionals. 

That being said, with a thorough risk assessment, the right equipment, and some prior knowledge, there are a lot of DIY jobs that anyone can do during lockdown!

Shop All Ladders Now!

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 If you have any questions about the right kind of ladder for your DIY project, drop us an email at sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.