Many people worry about ladder safety, however in actual fact, a quality ladder which is being used safely and for the right purpose, is the perfect tool for working at height. Accidents on ladders often occur because risks were taken in the first place – over reaching or placing the ladder in an inappropriate position are the most common causes of accident.
Take care when assembling your ladder
Never rush setting your ladders up. Make sure the locking mechanisms are engaged. Rushing to assemble your ladder could mean that the ladder collapses whilst in use. Rushing from a leafy area into a dry space could mean the ladder slips due to leaves still attached to the ladder feet. A simple check over before ascending your ladder could avoid this terrifying scenario.
When to carry out checks on your ladder
A good quality ladder will last you for many years to come, however it is still vitally important that you, as the user of the ladder carry out a pre-use check on your ladder:
- at the start of every working day.
- if something changes such as moving the ladder from a dirty area to a clean area, or if the ladder is dropped etc.
Never take someone elses word that the ladder is safe, always be certain yourself that your ladder is safe before using it.
Never assume that the ladder is safe. Damage can occur during storage or transit that you may be unaware of.
Carry out these simple daily checks
A ladder pre-use check can sound like a long and drawn out task, but it needn’t be and it could even save your life. Ladder pre-use checks will soon become a matter of habit rather than an inconvenience to the professional ladder user.
Check that these are not bent or damaged. The ladder could buckle or collapse if used with bent styles. Never take a risk.
Check the feet on the ladder. They should be of a good size and made of rubber for superior grip. Ensure that the feet are not missing, worn or damaged. Check your ladder feet regularly particularly when you move from one area to another. Loose soil, gravel or sand can stick to the feet. Make sure that this unwanted material is not in contact with the ground as this could cause the ladder to slip. Ensure it is the feet (rather than the material) which are in contact with the ground at all times.
Check all the rungs are in place and firmly attached. Bent, loose, missing or worn rungs can cause the ladder to fail, or you could slip and fall.
- check locking mechanisms
Engage all safety devices on your ladder including locking bars. If they are bent or fixings are worn or damaged, the ladder could collapse. Never use your ladder if the safety features are not engaging, you risk serious injury or even death.
- Check the platform if you are using a step ladder
Step ladders can be just as dangerous as any other type of ladder if it is being used in a dangerous condition. If the platform is split or buckled, it can cause the step ladder to become unsafe.
- Inspect the rungs for dirt
Even if the rungs are perfectly usable, a serious accident could occur from the dirt that is in contact with them. Always ensure your rungs are clear from excess debris. Similarly, ensure that your footwear is also. Leaves can easily become affixed to soles and will be like a skating rink when in contact with the ladder rungs. Take care!
If you have concerns about the safety of your ladder
First and foremost, never consider using a ladder which you feel is unsafe. If the ladder is your own, then the outlet from which you replaced it should be able to assist with the replacement of parts which have failed. Here at BPS Access Solutions, we offer a free lifetime guarantee on all of our ladders.
If you do not have a guarantee on your ladder, then the safest option is to replace it. Never use a ladder which you feel is unsafe.
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