The golden rules for using access equipment safely

The golden rules for using access equipment safely

Posted on 14th Nov, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham

Access equipment can ensure safety – but use it incorrectly and you’ll find yourself at risk. However, by following the golden rules of use and attending access equipment training courses, you can ensure safety while working at a height.

Here are our 6 top tips for using access equipment safely:

  1. Always conduct a quick ladder inspection
  2. Stay up to date on training and legislation
  3. Always use the right equipment for the job
  4. Stay focused on a single task
  5. Take outside weather conditions into account
  6. Stay alert for unstable or slippery surfaces

Read on for further detail on how to properly conduct these checks.

1. Check equipment before use

checking a ladder for safe use

Whether you’re using a work platform or a combination ladder, it’s vital that you check the access product for faults and damage before using it. Just because a work platform sits close to the ground, it doesn’t mean you won’t suffer an injury should it collapse. All pieces of equipment must be inspected.

2. Make sure you’ve received adequate training

work safety training with employee

It’s easy to dismiss safety training – but it does save lives. Even if you’re accessing a step ladder, it’s important to know how to use one safely and the proper precautions to take when working from a height. Specialist training for access solutions like a scaffold tower is even more important.

We recommend the following courses:

3. Use the right product for the job

man carrying ladders

Picking the right access product is hugely important in ensuring safety. While all access products are designed to keep you safe, they will only do so if used in their proper conditions. After all, there’s no point using a step ladder that’s too short for your needs– it may result in a fall. A manufacturer’s instructions will usually identify safe use, including safe working heights and loads.

4. Don’t multitask

man working on ladders safely

It doesn’t matter what type of access equipment you use or how low a height you’re working from, it’s critical that you don’t multitask. If you carry tools in one hand, there is a risk of loosing your balance. A tool tray or tool belt should be used instead of carrying tools and accessories by hand.

5. Consider environment and weather conditions

snow on a roof being constructed

Poor surface conditions can make a usually safe job treacherous. Conditions like ice, snow and rain can make working outdoors from access equipment unsafe and risky. Always try to avoid working in these conditions and if you have to complete the job, make sure you have a level and firm base in which to operate from.

6. Beware of fragile surfaces

fragile roof sign

When using access equipment, it’s important to check that the surface supports the load. Workers can be in danger if a surface doesn’t support them or their access equipment and when working from heights, extra protection such as safety harnesses should be considered. For more information on the use of safety harnesses, why not attend our Harnesses & Lanyards Training Course?

If you want to ensure the safety and safe use of your access products, sign up to our Ladder Safety Inspection Services. Our professional service sees us inspect all your access products – from work platforms to ladders and scaffolds – ensuring they’re safe to use. Find out more about ladder inspections today.

Do you have any other safety tips you’d like to share? If so, drop us a tweet @Brownssafety

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