Tips to Ensure Ladders are Used Safely
- Do a risk assessment for the specific job involving work at height. Look at the different work elements involved in the task, the duration of the activity and how easy the area is to access. Check that a ladder is the best piece of equipment for the job – if the task is likely to take longer than 30 minutes and is not low risk, then it is best to consider using a mobile elevating work platform or scaffold tower, for example.
- Ensure that workers are trained in the use of ladders. Make sure they position them correctly, on flat ground and have them tied or footed as necessary. Check that ladders extend above the work area being accessed, to ensure that workers have something to hold onto as they reach the top.
- Look after your ladders to avoid them getting damaged. Don’t keep them outside in the rain, and hang them up to stop them being knocked over. Throw them away if they are broken and cannot be repaired.
- Make sure that, where feasible, worker’s hands are freed up to remain in contact with the ladder by using tool belts or similar.
- Inspect your ladders regularly, and always before each use. Check that they are not warped or bent, that the rungs and platform are straight, and that the locking mechanism works properly. Report any defects immediately, and take the ladder out of use until it is repaired.
Take the time today to make sure that your work practices involving ladders are safe, and that they are properly planned and supervised.
Contact us if you require advice.