Injuries will happen: The top mistakes when using ladders
Posted on 30th Dec, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham
Injuries from falls (often from ladders) are one of the most common types of workplace accidents in the UK. But just a few basic steps can keep you safe. Today, we’re highlighting the most common mistake made and sharing our advice on how to stay safe.
Choosing the wrong ladder for the job
It might be easier to re-use the same ladder for a multitude of jobs but it’s certainly not safe. Before starting any job, you need to assess which ladder is required for the job and will ensure safety. For example, aluminium ladders should never be used around electricity and step ladders never leaned against a wall. Use a ladder incorrectly and it won’t ensure your safety at all. Once you’ve picked the right type of ladder, make sure it comfortably allows access to the heights required. Ladders of the wrong height are just as dangerous too.
Using a damaged ladder
Is your ladder broken, bent or worn? Even if it’s just the one rung that’s a little dodgy, a damaged ladder should never be used. Any ladder that’s damaged or weakened in any way presents a number of hazards – including falls from a height. It’s also important to dispose of a damaged ladder in case someone else gets his or her hands on it too.
Setting up a ladder on an uneven surface
The set up of a ladder is just as important as proper use. While it’s obvious that you shouldn’t set up a ladder on rocky or pebbled surfaces, many do not know the risks of soft or uneven ground.
Failing to maintain three points of contact
When using a ladder, it’s critical that you keep three points of contact at all times. Usually, this is two feet and one hand. This ensures proper balance and failure to maintain three points of contact can result in a fall.
Lifting or carrying your ladder incorrectly
We all know the many risks of using ladders incorrectly, but what about their risks pre-use? Improper manual handling can lead to serious injury, including neck, shoulder and back strain. Make sure you’re competent in proper manual handling and if you’re not sure how best to transport a ladder, ask a colleague or attend our Manual Handling Training Course. You should also ask for help if a ladder is too big or too heavy to carry by yourself.
Our Ladders and Steps Training Course covers everything you need to know about using ladders and step ladders safely. We cover health and safety legislation, ladder inspections, risk assessment and more. To discover the course, head to the Ladders and Steps Training page.
For more general advice on how to work safely from a height, we recommend our Working at Height Training Course.
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