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.
We don't want you to get hurt while you're using your step ladder, so here's some helpful safety advice from the experts here at Ladders UK Direct...
Step Ladder Safety Tips
- Step ladders are ideal for quick, low-risk jobs. If you need to work at height for more than, say, half an hour, you should consider an alternative access solution.
- Give your step ladder a brief visual inspection before use. Make sure there are no signs of damage. (See also: How often should ladders be inspected?)
- Make sure all of the ladder's feet are firmly on the ground, and keep them in contact with the ground at all times.
- Ensure the ladder is fully unfolded and that the locking mechanism is engaged.
- Do not exceed the step ladder's maximum load limit. Remember, it's not just your own body weight that counts - avoid carrying heavy objects while using the ladder.
- If possible, the step ladder should be positioned so that you're facing your work instead of twisting around and working side-on.
- Don't overreach. Instead of stretching to reach something, get down and reposition the ladder as needed.
- Keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times - ideally two feet and one hand.
- If you need both hands free to work, keep both feet on the same step of the ladder and use the ladder itself to support your knees or chest as a third point of contact.
- If there's a possibility that your work may push the ladder sideways (e.g. side-on drilling into a solid wall), it may be necessary to tie the ladder for extra stability. See How to Stop Your Ladder from Slipping for further advice.
Your goal when using a step ladder - or any other sort of ladder, for that matter - should be to keep risk at a minimum. Don't go any higher than necessary, ensure that the ladder is as stable as possible, and keep your feet firmly on the ladder at all times.
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