When using a step ladder, it is very important not only to ensure that the ladder itself is undamaged and in full working order, but that you position it correctly. By doing so, you will be able to climb up the ladder and complete the task at hand safely, confident that your step ladder will not give way and cause a potentially serious accident.
In case you're not sure how to position a step ladder, we will run through each step below, as well as the correct processes to carry out before setting up your step ladder and whilst using your step ladder.
Before using your step ladder
- Ensure you are fit and healthy enough to use a step ladder. If you have certain medical conditions or are taking certain medications, using your step ladder may be unsafe. Consult your doctor if you are unsure.
- If you have to transport your step ladder, make sure it is secure and stored in such a way that it won't be damaged in transit.
- Conduct an inspection of your step ladder before use to check its condition and ensure that all parts are operating as they should be.
- Make sure your ladder is suitable for the task you intend to use it for - if damaged, do not use.
- Remove anything that might cause your ladder to slip (e.g. oil or puddles of water on the floor).
Positioning and erecting your step ladder
- Stand your step ladder in the correct position below where you intend to work.
- All locking devices, if fitted, need to be fully secured before use.
- Your step ladder needs to be on an even, level and unmovable base.
- Never reposition your ladder from above whilst you are on it.
- Take note of any electrical risks in the work area, such as overhead lines or any other exposed electrical equipment.
- Ensure your ladder is stood on its feet - no other part of the ladder is designed to take its weight.
- Ensure your step ladder is not positioned on a slippery surface (e.g. ice, polished flooring). If this is unavoidable, take additional precautions to prevent the ladder from slipping - for example, you could put down ladder mats.
Using your step ladder
- Do not exceed the maximum weight load for your step ladder.
- Do not overreach when on your step ladder. Ensure your navel is inside the stiles and both feet on the same step throughout your work.
- Do not stand on the top three steps of your step ladder.
- Use non-conductive step ladders for electrical work.
- Ensure step ladders are not used outside in adverse weather conditions such as strong winds.
- Face your step ladder when going up and going down, with a secure grip when needed.
- Wear suitable footwear when using your step ladder.
- Avoid spending long periods of time on your step ladder without taking regular breaks.
- Any equipment you use while on your step ladder should be light and easy to handle.
- Avoid any work that puts a sideways load on your step ladder, such as side-on drilling through solid materials.
And there you have it: the correct way to inspect, position and use your step ladder. By following these simple steps, you will go a long way to ensuring not only your safety whilst using your step ladder, but that your work can be carried out effectively and that your step ladder will last for a much longer time!
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