When it comes to staying safe on a ladder - whether you're climbing up it, working on it or climbing down - there are certain things that you need to do to ensure you minimise the risk of injury and accidents so that you are safe at all times.
If you're not aware of these things, you can find out in our blogs here:
How to Climb a Ladder Safely > How to Use a Step Ladder Safely >
In both of those posts, we talk about the ways that you can stay safe whilst using a ladder and list various points that you can follow. Included here is the way which you carry and hold the specific tools needed to complete the task at hand. Carrying tools whilst ascending and descending a ladder is clearly a safety hazard and should be avoided at all costs unless you have the equipment to do so; such as a tool belt.
Having a tool belt, however, doesn't automatically make carrying tools up a ladder safe. You need to know the correct way to organise and wear it to ensure your tools do not fall whilst climbing up or down the ladder, potentially injuring yourself or others that may be working or moving around you. For those of you who don't know the right way to organise and wear your tool belt, we are here to help! This blog focuses on the correct measures you need to take when carrying tools up a ladder.
So, what are you waiting for? Read on to find out more...
Organising your tool belt
Despite different people having different ways of organising their tool belt, there are a select few rules that you should follow in order to maintain your safety whilst climbing up or down a ladder, all of which relate to your tool belt's pockets and pouches.
Each tool belt will have a certain number of pockets and pouches to take advantage of, each coming in varying shapes and sizes to cater to the range of tools that you have at your disposal. Now, to most people, pockets and pouches can seem like the same thing but we're here to tell you they're not, which is important. A tool belt pouch is one full container that hangs off of the belt. Often belts will house two large pouches, spaced apart and sitting on either thigh to allow a greater range of movement.
Each one of the pouches will contain a number of pockets, all coming in varying sizes and shapes depending on what can be stored in them. Some may even have some form of closure that allows smaller objects such as screws and nails to be placed in them stopping them from falling out.
One of the pouches will be your dominant pouch, depending on which hand you class as your dominant hand. This will hold your most important tool such as a hammer. The spare pouch will then become your secondary pouch and will hold many of your fasteners and small objects such as pencils, liners or nails. The secondary pouch acts as a somewhat 'support pouch', providing your off-hand with the tools and equipment needed to go with the tool in your dominant hand e.g. nails for a hammer.
Wearing your tool belt
It may seem a little silly at first but there is a right way of wearing your tool belt which allows you to carry tools up a ladder both easier and safer. Three things should be focused on here. These are:
- The orientation of your belt - Believe it or not but sometimes wearing your toolbelt backwards can sometimes be safer than wearing it forwards, particularly for a job that requires your to bend down a lot. By having the pouches behind you, your tools won't be digging into you as you bend whilst on the ladder.
- The weight of your tool belt - It goes without saying that the more tools that you carry whilst climbing up a ladder will impact on your safety. The more tools you have will mean you are carrying more weight. Each ladder will have a limit on the weight load that it can carry, so exceeding this load with a large number of tools becomes dangerous. If you find yourself carrying a lot of tools up a ladder, invest in a pair of suspenders that you can hang the belt from as this will take a good deal of weight off of your hips.
- The number of pouches - The more pouches that your belt has, the more tools you're able to carry, the more difficult your work will be. By limiting the number of pouches that you use on your tool belt will increase your safety whilst climbing up and down a ladder.
A tool belt is the best and safest way of carrying tools up a ladder, as long as you are doing all of the things that you need to be doing, which includes organising and wearing it correctly. By following the above steps and advice, you will minimise the risks that come with working on a ladder!
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