Training to use a ladder

If you are required to work at height as part of your job or in your spare time, there is a range of equipment that can be used to not only make the task more efficient but a whole lot safer.

From access towers to man cages and ladders, the options available to you all ensure that you're able to get whatever job you need doing done, in a safe and controlled manner but do you need training to use them?

In this blog, we focus on the safe use of ladders and whether or not you need to complete any sort of training programme in order to use them to complete work either in a commercial setting or a domestic one.

So, if you're wondering if you need training to use a ladder, read on to find out!

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Ladders are great pieces of equipment that help you complete tasks at height safely and efficiently. They work to minimise the risks associated with working at heights by providing stability for the user whilst they complete their job. But when is it the best time to use a ladder and not just your natural reach? 

If you have ever wondered when to use a ladder and when not, this blog aims to clear things up. Here, we will look at the times when a ladder is absolutely vital to ensure safe and effective work can be carried out and some tips that will help you remain safe whilst using your ladder. 

So, let's get right into it! 

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According to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of fatal falls involve a ladder. That's a very high number, especially considering that individuals who use ladders in the workplace are supposed to receive basic ladder safety training first.

Health and safety experts would point out that the majority of these accidents involve complacency - but if that many falls are occurring when people have received basic training, how many are happening at home, in a domestic environment, with no training at all?

Thankfully, the risks involved with using a ladder can be dramatically reduced with a few key safety precautions. In this blog post, we're going take a look at how to tie off a ladder in order to reduce the chances of a fall occurring.

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If you regularly use ladders and/or step ladders as part of your daily job, it's important that you are up to speed on how to use them safely. If not, you run the risk of causing a serious accident not just for yourself but potentially for anyone who is working with you or around you whilst you are working. 

To ensure you are fully aware of the risks involved whilst using a ladder and you know how to minimise these risks for your and others safety, various ladder safety courses exists that teaches you the safe use of ladders. 

Want to know more and whether a ladder safety course is something you should take? Find out right here with Ladders UK Direct.  

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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.

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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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.

ladder standing up

Storing your ladder properly can make all the difference to how long it lasts. Your ladder takes care of you while you're using it, so make sure you take care of it when you're not!

Ladders that are stored incorrectly can topple over, cause injury or start to rust/deteriorate, so it's important you take the time to find an ideal storage space before you put your ladder away.

Here at Ladders UK Direct, the ladders we offer are generally made of long-lasting materials like aluminium, fibreglass and steel. That being said, incorrect storage can turn a perfectly good ladder into a dangerous piece of equipment. Proper ladder storage will prolong your ladder's life and will keep you and other people in your home/business safe.

How should I store my ladder?

If you're stuck for places to store your ladder, you have a few options. The safest option is to invest or create a ladder rack in your garage or shed where you can store your ladder on the wall horizontally. With support points along the length of the ladder, the chances of it falling on a passer-by are very slim. 

The second best option is to lay your ladder completely flat on the ground. Yes, this might be a trip hazard (so be careful where you lay it), but it's certainly not going to fall on top of anyone from the floor.

Understandably, not everyone will have the means to store their ladders horizontally, or the space to have their ladders stored on the ground which leads us to the question...

Can I store my ladder standing up?

Yes - ladders can be stored standing up,  but it's not the safest method of ladder storage. Ladders that are stored standing up are far more likely to topple over than ladders that are stored laying down or horizontally on a ladder rack.

For that reason, we'd only recommend storing your ladders standing up if you've got no other alternative. If you're worried about storing your ladders, we'd highly recommend checking out our ladder locks and ladder storage hooks. These products are specifically designed to make it easy for you to store ladders of all shapes and sizes. 

Read More: Ladder Storage: How to Store Your Ladder

If you're looking for new ladders to add to your home or business equipment kit, we have a diverse range of ladders on offer. Shop Now!

can you put a ladder against a window

Whether you've decided to clean your windows, paint the outside of your house or clean the guttering, you might be wondering if you can put a ladder against a window to reach the right height. It might seem like the easiest route to get the job done, but putting a ladder against a window can be really dangerous. 

The short answer to the question - "can you put a ladder against a window" is no. You should never attempt to lean a ladder against a window even if you think it's secure. The force of the ladder against the glass plus the additional weight of you, your equipment, etc. can cause the glass to crack or shatter.

How can you avoid leaning your ladder against a window?

There are a few things you could try if you think you might have to lean your ladder against a window. All of these options are sure to keep you safe and prevent the glass from cracking. Remember, you should never climb your ladder unless you're 100% sure it's safe and secure.

  • Choose a longer ladder - Finding a ladder that will reach past the window and lean on the wall above will keep you safe. 
  • Use longer tools - As long as you're not doing work that involves close contact tools, you could invest in longer tools to reach over the window. This is a great option for window cleaning. 
  • Choose a tripod ladder - Tripod ladders, like step ladders, have built-in supports that will keep the ladder upright so you don't have to lean against the window.
  • Consider scaffolding - While this might seem like a bit of a drastic alternative, it can actually be very beneficial if your project is going to take longer than a few hours. Plus you won't need to go anywhere near the windows!

Possible dangers of leaning your ladder against a window

So, at this point, you might be thinking... I don't want to buy a new ladder... what's the worst that could happen?

Well, we've seen a lot of people work with a lot of different ladders so we know the kinds of injuries that can be sustained when you ignore advice and use your ladder in an unsafe manner! 

Here are a few things that could happen if you decide to lean your ladder against a window:

  • The glass could shatter at head height, causing shards of glass to hit you in the face or shower down onto you.
  • You could be jolted off the ladder if the glass pane breaks and the ladder is suddenly un-supported.
  • You might reach and grab hold of the window frame that's full of broken glass shards.

None of these things sound particularly pleasant do they, and they're sure to put you out of action for a while. We always preach ladder safety, but we're doing it for your own good - not ours!

If you're unsure which ladder is right for the job, drop us an email at sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk and our friendly team will happily assist you.

Shop All Ladders NOW!

Read More:

- Ladder Safety Tips

- Carrying Tools Up a Ladder

- How to Climb a Ladder Safely

 

are ladders safe, ladder safety

Ladders are a pretty universal piece of equipment that every man and his dog has in the garage. Tradespeople have them, homeowners have them and (if you don't already) you should have one too!

If so many people have ladders then surely they must be safe. Right? Well, not necessarily. As with all pieces of equipment, the equipment itself might be perfectly safe, but if the person using it does so in an unsafe way, then that's where accidents and injuries occur. 

When it comes to answering the question "are my ladders safe?" you need to consider a few things. Have you inspected the ladder itself for potential faults or weaknesses? And do you have the proper training and safety procedures in place to ensure that you can use the ladder properly?

How can you check if a ladder is safe?

If you've had a ladder stored away in the garage for a while, you might be wondering how safe it is to use. This is a perfectly normal concern that can be resolved by carrying out a simple ladder inspection before you get to work. During your initial inspection you should:

  • Check that the rungs are all firmly attached and in place
  • Look for damaged parts like corroded nails
  • Identify any cracks or splits
  • Ensure that all moving parts are working

If the ladder appears to be in good working order then it's probably safe to use. However, if for any reason you suspect that something has corroded, broken or stopped working since you last used it then it might be time to order a replacement. Take a look at our ladders below:

Our Ladders >       Our Step Ladders >        Our Roof Ladders >

How to use a ladder safely

It probably comes as no surprise that the biggest cause of ladder accidents is human error - and nothing to do with ladders themselves. As we said, ladders are safe as long as they're in the right hands. Here are a few points to remember if you want to use a ladder safely:

1. Always make sure that the work you need to do has been planned properly & that all risks have been considered.

2. Do as much work as you can from the ground. You should only use the ladder when it's absolutely necessary.

3. Ensure that the area you're working in has been cleared of obstacles/debris.

4. Think about what you're wearing. Do you need extra PPE to work safely?

5. Consider what would happen in the event of an emergency. Do you have the right precautions in place to prevent an injury?

By being aware of yourself, your surroundings and the task at hand, you can make sure that your ladder is safe. Climbing up your ladder with no prior thought is bound to cause an accident, so please be mindful of proper ladder safety practices before you get to work.

So to answer your question, "are ladders safe?" - yes. Ladders are an incredibly safe piece of equipment as long as they're looked after, checked regularly and used by a competent person. 

Take a look at our other ladder safety blogs for more information:

If you have any other questions about our ladders, don't hesitate to give us a call on 01446 789538.