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 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 pros.
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 ladder safety a topic of universal importance.
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.
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 potentially causing the ladder breaking mid-use.
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.
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.
Additional Ladder 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.
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.
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.
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.