This post was last updated on June 16th, 2020 at 02:03 pm
Being up a ladder of any type, even a humble stepladder, is a potentially dangerous place to be. If you are not used to ladder-work and are not observing basic safety precautions, it can be easy to think you can defy the laws of physics.
We want you to stay safe whenever you use a ladder. Please take heed of these safety tips.
Ladder Safety Tips
- Whenever you climb a ladder or descend, always maintain three points of contact: either both hand and a foot or vice versa.
- Ladders have a capacity rating. This refers to the maximum weight a ladder can carry. Do not exceed this. Take into account the user’s weight plus the weight of all tools and materials going up or being held at the top of the ladder.
- Set up your ladder according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
- Use the right ladder for the job in hand.
- When leaning a ladder against a wall don’t use it in too upright a position. Keep the base away from the wall - 1 foot for every 4 feet in height - to maintain stability.
- When using an old ladder, check that it is still fit for purpose.
- Use slip-resistant footwear that is close-fitting - no flip-flops.
- The user should climb the ladder slowly and carefully, facing the rungs at all times, and keeping body weight central to the ladder.
- Keep both hands free when climbing a ladder. Don’t carry anything. You need both hands to grip the ladder until you are in a working position. Wear a tool belt or use a rope to haul up what is needed.
- Work in front of you or at arm’s length - don't overreach.
- Don’t try to reposition a ladder with somebody on it.
- Do not permit more than one person on a ladder at the same time unless it is specifically designed for multi-person use.
- Never stand on the very top rung of a ladder, even a stepladder.
- Be aware of other people in the vicinity when you are working up a ladder. It is advisable to keep small children and dogs away from the base of the ladder. There is always the risk of dropped tools or materials causing injury.
When Not To Use A Ladder
- Never go up a ladder if you are tired, experiencing dizziness, suffer from vertigo, or are generally feeling unwell. In those circumstances, your judgment can be impaired and you could take unnecessary risks.
- Avoid using a ladder in windy or stormy conditions.
- Avoid slippery surfaces at both the bottom and top of the ladder.
- Ladders should be used on level ground to remain safe. On sloping terrain you should fit a leg leveler to keep your ladder upright. If you don't have one fitted, don't risk using chocks and blocks as a temporary solution. That is dangerous and unpredictable.
- Never use a ladder that is damaged in any way.
Many people are killed or seriously injured each year due to falls from all types of ladder. Even falling from a few steps up a basic stepladder has the potential to cause life-changing injuries.
Don't take chances when working on a ladder. Follow these ladder safety tips and stay safe!