Using a ladder at home can be just as hazardous at using a ladder at work. In fact some would say that it’s more dangerous as you’re often more likely to be working alone, or not using the appropriate equipment and/or haven’t had any safety training.
Ladder safety training isn’t just for those who use ladders at work, it’s equally important for those who use ladders in their everyday life, which is just about everyone. Just think about the last time you used a ladder at home; maybe you were just using some small steps to reach the top shelf of a cupboard, or using a stepladder to get a box out of the loft, or using a single extension ladder to clean your windows or gutters. Ladders are used every day by millions of people around the world for simple household tasks, but often tasks may seem too small for the extra attention to safety and we often don’t think about the repercussion of a accident.
Don’t be another statistic!
So, when using a ladder at home make sure you understand the risks and take the appropriate measures to prevent any unnecessary harm or injury, even if the job seems as simple as changing a light bulb. By following these tips you can climb with greater comfort and security:
• Make sure the ladder is at the correct angle (75° or 1 in 4)
• Make sure the ladder it is long enough or high enough for the task
• Wear protective footwear with slip-resistant soles and heels. Before mounting a ladder, make sure your footwear is in good condition, and wipe off the soles if necessary. Don’t climb a ladder if the soles of your shoes or boots are wet, muddy or slippery
• Make sure you hold the rungs of the ladder, not the side rails. The rungs are easier to hold onto in case your foot slips. Face the ladder when going up or down and when working from it. Keep the centre of your body within the side rails.
• Always maintain three-point contact by keeping two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, on the ladder at all times.
• Only carry light materials and tools and avoid holding items when climbing
• Don’t overload it and don’t overreach
• Don’t try to move or extend ladders while standing on the rungs
• Do not work from the top three rungs. The higher you go on a ladder, the greater the possibility that it will slip out at the base
• Don’t stand ladders on moveable objects, such as pallets, bricks, lift trucks, tower scaffolds, excavator buckets, vans, or mobile elevating work platforms
• For a leaning ladder, you should always secure it (e.g. by tying the ladder to prevent it from slipping either outwards or sideways) and have a strong upper resting point
• You should also always use an effective stability device
This is not a exhaustive list, please refer to the HSE “safe use of ladders and step ladders guide” or the working at height act for more details and make sure you have the right tools and knowledge to stay safe when working at height!