How to climb a ladder

A ladder can be a safe and effective means of working at height, but you have to be careful when ascending and descending. Rushing to go up or down a ladder may result in a nasty accident - and we've already covered the injuries that can come from falling off a ladder.

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Injuries

In January 2020, a roofing company in Kent was fined more than £28,000 because a worker had fallen from a ladder and sustained serious back injuries. The company hadn't taken steps to ensure that the man would be able to maintain three points of contact with the ladder while working - a HSE inspector stated that the accident could have been prevented "by simply providing basic and inexpensive lifting aids".

Unfortunately, this story is far from unique. Just one month earlier, in December 2019, the owner of a painting and decorating company in Northamptonshire was sentenced to 160 hours of unpaid work (and ordered to pay more than £2,000 in costs) after one of his employees suffered a fall that left him paralysed from the chest down.

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Ladder leaning against wall

Ladders are very useful when you need to access a hard-to-reach area, but they can be dangerous if misused.

When you're on a ladder, be sure to avoid these 10 potentially risky behaviours:

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Step ladder

A common sight in both the home and the workplace, step ladders are incredibly versatile - they can be used for everything from plastering ceilings and cleaning windows to changing light bulbs and redecorating the living room.

Folding step ladders are generally quite safe to use. They are self-supporting, so you don't have to lean your ladder up against the wall, and the steps are reasonably comfortable to stand on.

That being said, working at height is always potentially hazardous, and even when you're using a step ladder, it's important to take certain precautions in order to minimise the risk of injury.

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Falling from a ladder can lead to injury and even death, so it's important to ensure that your ladder is stable and free of defects before you use it.

But how often should you be inspecting your ladder? Is there a hard and fast rule?

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A ladder is a great way to complete low-risk, short-duration work at height. But before you go up that ladder, it's important to make sure that it's nice and stable - the last thing you want is a ladder that's going to slip outwards or sideways while you're at the top of it!

To help you stop your ladder from slipping, here are some tips from the experts here at Ladders UK Direct.

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Using an extension ladder is a great way to get a bit of extra height when you're working on hard-to-reach areas.

But as with any ladder, it's important to be careful when you're using an extension ladder. Safety measures are always important, but when you're working at the kind of heights that only an extending ladder can reach, they really can make the difference between life and death.

Extending Ladder

Pictured: Professional Double Extension Ladder

Here's our step-by-step guide to help you stay safe while using an extension ladder.

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With the UK on lockdown and a large portion of the country's workforce currently furloughed, you may have a lot of free time on your hands right now.

On Monday 23 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged us to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) by staying at home and only going out for the following reasons:

  • Medical needs
  • Shopping for essentials
  • Exercising once a day
  • Work (but only if you can't work from home)

Those rules have been in place for a couple of weeks now, and unsurprisingly, many housebound Brits have been turning to DIY to keep themselves busy.

Man painting house with ladder in the background

Photo by Tafe Sa Tonsley

But it's one thing to reupholster an old armchair or try your hand at upcycling - jobs like those are easy to complete without going outside. What if you want to paint your house? Is that allowed under the current COVID-19 rules?

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How to Clean Gutters

Gutter cleaning is probably one of the most unattractive and unappealing home maintenance chores there is. It’s often dirty, requires a lot of ladder moving, you’ll most likely get wet from flushing the gutters and it’s not something that you can show off to your neighbours once it’s finished like a beautifully mowed lawn. Not exactly the most ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon, is it?

However, by avoiding cleaning your gutters, you’re potentially inviting a lot of trouble to your home. If your gutters become too full, water can begin to damage the roofing and fascia as well as the below-deck as water starts to flow over your gutters onto your main foundation rather than down a spout. While cleaning your gutters may seem a simple task, there are a number of things that you can do to keep your gutters sparkling and therefore protecting your home for years to come. But first, it’s important to know exactly when to clean your gutters and what equipment is needed to do it safely.

 

When to clean your gutters

You should clean your gutters twice a year; once in the spring and once in the autumn. However, if you live in a neighbourhood that has a lot of trees, you’ll more than likely have to do it more than twice a year. Be sure to keep an eye out on your gutters, particularly after bad weather or severe wind and rain. Even if it’s to clear up a clog in the downspout.

It’s a far more pleasant and easier job to clean your gutters when they are dry. Otherwise, you’ll need to prepare yourself for mucky by-products that you’ll have to fetch out and dispose of. A quick tip is to check your gutter before a storm is forecasted. The last thing you want to do is to be sat in your home looking out of the window watching water pour out from over your gutters into your garden and foundations and thinking you could have prevented it with a quick sweep of the spots near the downspouts.

 

Clean from the ground up

Another important thing to know when cleaning your gutter is where to do it from. Never clean them from your roof. You’d be turning a simple chore into a dangerous one. Therefore, it is recommended to clean your gutters from the ground using an appropriate gutter cleaning ladder. When doing so, it is important to follow best practices for ladder safety, because if you don’t things can go south pretty quickly.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember whilst cleaning out gutters is to not reach out further than is safe to do. It’s easy to think that you can lean out as far as your body will take you as it means you will have to move the ladder less, but be wary and always keep your waist between the rails. Since you’re going to be moving a ladder a lot, on potentially uneven lawns and ground, ensure you have a stable and even footing to make the job safer. Having someone else there spotting the ladder while you work is a common solution or using ladder accessories such as a ladder stay is also a great option.  

Browse our Ladder Accessories >

 

For collecting the debris from the gutter, you can layout a tarp underneath your gutters and just move it along whenever you climb down and move your gutter cleaning ladder. If using an A-frame ladder, you can easily attach a bucket with a handle to one of the built-in hooks found near the top.

 

De-gunking your gutter

To remove the debris from your gutter, follow these simple steps:

  1. Use a small garden trowel or get a good pair of garden gloves and scoop out the leaves and sediment, starting at the downspout. Hands are often the better tool for this job as you have increased levels of manoeuvrability allowing you to get downspout clogs loose with far less effort.
  2. Once you have cleaned as much as you safely can in one spot, move your gutter cleaning ladder down the gutter and continue to the next until you’ve got all that you can with your hands.
  3. Next, at the opposite end of the downspout, use a hose to flush the finer bits of debris. Let it run for a minute to ensure that water is coming cleanly through the spout.
  4. If the water is only trickling through, then you know that you still have a clog. To clear it, run the hose at a higher pressure right into the downspout.

 

If like many homeowners, you would rather avoid cleaning gutters yourself, there are a number of options that you can choose. The first is to hire a professional to do the job for you. This obviously comes at a price but will allow you to sit back and relax or get on with more important tasks while someone else does the dirty work. If you don’t mind cleaning the gutter but would like to do it a little less often, there are several products that you can install into your gutter that help to alleviate the build-up of debris, such as gutter whiskers, mesh guards and snap-in plastic covers.

 

Best ladders for cleaning gutters 

Ultimately, whichever you choose, you will still need to gain access to your gutter to install them. Doing this in the safest and most efficient way possible is paramount. Here at Ladders UK Direct, we supply a range of quality gutter cleaning ladders to ensure you can clean your gutters without a worry in the world, and with such an extensive collection, we are guaranteed to have a ladder-type to suit you. We recommend taking a look at our collection of extension ladders, which are simple to use and allow you to reach high places safely.

Browse Our Extension Ladders >

 

For more information on how our gutter cleaning ladders can help you or which are the best ladders for cleaning gutters, do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today by calling 01446789538 or emailing sales@ladderukdirect.co.uk.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, 40% of all on-the-job fatalities occur as a result of a fall from height.

This is particularly problematic in construction with the HSE reporting that half of all the fall from height deaths over the last five years occurring in the construction trade.

Meanwhile, just under 20% of all non-fatal injuries in the construction trade over the last five years were also a result of falling from height. Scary stuff!

Needless to say, knowing how to use a ladder safely is of vital importance and can quite literally save your life. Luckily, this blog is dedicated to ladder safety tips that will help you do exactly that!

Read on for a step-by-step account on how to raise your ladder game today with these top ladder safety tips from the Ladders UK Direct pros.

 

ladder safety tips, how to use a ladder safely

 

How to Use a Ladder Safely

Whether you’re a professional roofer or an average Joe hanging Christmas lights from the guttering, you are effectively putting yourself at risk once you scale a ladder.

After all, gravity doesn’t discriminate and the same dangers apply to all – which makes following our ladder safety tips universally important.

To help ensure your ladder-related tasks don’t come crashing down, here are a few ladder safety tips that will help you avoid a fall from grace and keep your spirits high.

 

Strong Stiles

The vertical parts of a ladder (i.e. the long parts on either side of the rungs) are known in the UK as ladder stiles.

Before using a ladder, it’s vitally important that the stiles are in good condition and void of any splits, dents or bends.

Any damage caused to the stiles can seriously impact the structural integrity of the ladder and can potentially cause the ladder to break mid-use.

 

Rung Capacity

Much like the stiles, healthy rungs are paramount when it comes to ensuring your ladder is fit for purpose.

If rungs are bent, loose or missing entirely, take that as a tell-tale warning sign that your ladder’s days are numbered.

Using a ladder that features dodgy or absent rungs will increase the likelihood of the ladder failing and could result in things going south fast.

 

Happy Feet

The feet of the ladder are the underside of the stiles, typically adorned with rubber bases that feature a ridged pattern on the bottom of the caps.

If the feet are worn, damaged or, worse still, missing entirely, this can lead to the underside of the ladder becoming slippery and losing its traction.

If this occurs while you are on the ladder, it could lead to disaster. As such, you should postpone use until the feet have been replaced.

 

User-related Ladders Safety Tips

Anytime you use a ladder, even one that is in full, working order, the way you engage with the ladder can also have a dramatic effect on the level of safety.

Follow these user-related ladder safety tips to help ensure you keep a firm grasp on the task at hand during your next ladder job.

 

Understand Overload

While most ladders are sturdy enough to hold the weight of a worker, they aren’t indestructible and are built with a maximum weight limit in mind.

Always check the specifications of your ladder to avoid overloading it with too much weight, accounting for the weight of the working and any materials/equipment they are carrying.

Meanwhile, carrying too much can put you off-balance and easily lead you to fall as a result. Be sensible when it comes to carrying loads up ladders and only carry what you can comfortably handle.

 

Arm’s Reach

Setting up your ladder in an appropriate location for the task at hand should be a top priority prior to scaling the rungs.

If the area you need to access is even slightly out of comfortable reach, it can lead to a nasty fall in mere seconds.

A good rule of thumb to avoid stretching out to a dangerous distance is to ensure your belt buckle stays with the stiles of the ladder. Anything beyond that could put you at further risk.

 

Higher Ground

Before you begin your task, always make sure that the ladder you are using is long/high enough for the job in front of you.

To gauge whether or not your ladder is tall enough for your chosen endeavour, you should be able to safely access the area you need without working on the top three rungs.

The ladder itself should extend at least one metre above where you are working to allow you simple hand/foot contact with the ladder at all times for safer stability.

 

For additional ladder safety tips, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 789538 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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