When you're working at height, it's always important that you take practical safety precautions to prevent accidental falls and injuries. We've already touched on some of our recommended ladder safety tips in a previous blog, but today, we want to talk about safety harnesses. The official guidelines for the use of harnesses on ladders are somewhat vague, so we've put together this quick blog to give you a better idea of if and when you should wear a harness on a ladder.
Safety should be your first priority when you're using a ladder of any shape, size or length. A fall from as little as 2 metres can have potentially fatal consequences, so it's important that you (or your employer) considers the risks before you undertake any work at height. Taking the time to put a few simple safety precautions in place can really make a difference if an accident occurs.
The law states that you should try to avoid using ladders for longer than 30 minutes at a time. The longer you're up there, the higher the chance of a fall. Before heading up the rungs, you should carry out a risk assessment to show that the working area is stable and that the ladder is safe to use. So, at what point should you consider wearing a safety harness?
Assessing the situation
Depending on the nature of the task at hand, you may need to wear a safety harness while you're using a ladder. If you're completing a job at work, your employer should have specific safety guidelines that you should follow. If you're climbing a ladder to complete tasks at home, then you may need to assess the situation yourself and make a decision on whether to wear a harness or not.
While it may not seem practical to set up a safety harness rig to clean your gutters, there are circumstances where an additional layer of fall protection is recommended. We'd recommend considering the following:
- Will you be able to maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder at all times?
- How high are you climbing? Would a fall from this height cause you serious injury?
- How long do you think the task will take?
- Will you need to move from the ladder onto a raised platform or roof?
A scenario where you might decide to use a safety harness could be; when you're climbing onto the roof of your home to replace the roof tiles. This job will certainly take longer than 30 minutes, you're likely to be a couple of stories high, and you'll need to move off your roof ladder to get the job done.
If you're working at height frequently, or in a workplace, you might decide to in a comprehensive ladder safety fall protection kit. These feature a whole host of accessories to keep you safe. Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer ladder stays and ladder mats which you can use alongside a safety harness if you want to add an additional layer of protection while you work.
For more information, or to order one of our ladders, feel free to give us a call on 01446 789 538.