Another week and another opportunity for the eagle eyed amongst us to spot another flout of Health and Safety guidelines. This week sees us in a UK town where the back of a pick up truck is being used to place a ladder in order to gain additional height.
What is wrong here – we hope we didn’t hear you say!
Of course, ladders should always be placed on a reliable surface before using them. This is for obvious reasons such as slipping or the ground itself not suitable to place a ladder such as a small area such as a porch roof.
Clearly the back of a pick up truck is a bad idea as the ladder could slip causing a serious accident or the vehicle could move or be hit whilst the ladder is in use. Securing a ladder safely is one of the most important considerations when using a ladder as failure to do so could cost you your life.
Making sure the ladder itself is long enough for the job is also important. It goes without saying really! If you do different tasks around the home or work with ladders, it will be worth your while purchasing an extension ladder which will ensure you will be able to reach most reasonable heights without compromising your safety.
It is easy for a ladder accident to occur – never take the risk
It is never a good idea to knowingly take a risk with a ladder. Ladder accidents can and do occur accidentally. Never put yourself in a position where you risk serious injury or even death. The good news is, ladder accidents are preventable – here are some tips:
- Inspect the ladder before use
- Check the weight capacity
- Use a ladder correctly
- Bad positioning
Whether you use your ladder occasionally or every day, check for damage before using it. Whether it’s a loft ladder or a multi purpose ladder, check it first. In December 2014, a woman was fatally injured whilst retrieving Christmas decorations from the loft. She stood on a ladder rung that had a single crack in it and it broke while she was standing on it.
Always inspect your ladder for damage and make sure all the locks are in position before using it. Never use a damaged ladder.
Ladders do have limitations – one of the main ones being the amount of weight they are designed to carry. It is important that the weight capacity is not exceeded. It is not just your own weight though that you need to consider – tools and materials can add to this weight significantly. If you use or carry weighty tools on your ladder such as paint pots, be sure do not exceed weight capacity as this can lead to frame failure, broken rungs and strain on the locks.
Check the weight capacity of your ladder and ensure it is not exceeded.
Only use a ladder in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. Never be tempted to alter or lengthen it yourself. Simple mistakes often contribute to ladder accidents – be sure to keep 3 points of contact on the ladder at all times to avoid over balancing and never over reach. If you need to reach an object that is out of reach, you will have to get off the ladder, move it, then climb up again.
Always ensure your ladder is placed on a reliable surface that is free of debris such as wet leaves, gravel, sand and other building materials. Wet areas such as grass and decking can also be serious slipping hazards unless you use a gripper.
Consider where you are placing your ladder – placing it near doors is a no no even if they are locked and beware of working near to corners. Always warn people that there is a ladder nearby to avoid a nasty accident occurring.
Accidents can be prevented
The most common injury sustained by incorrect ladder use is fractures at 32%. According to the OSHA, 100% of ladder accidents could be prevented if proper attention to equipment and user training was provided.
Ladder accidents can be prevented – you have to take control yourself!
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