Safety should be of paramount concern when carrying out any project, at home or at work. Falling from a height is one of the main causes of serious injury and fatalities at work. 35 people were reported to have died because of workplace ladder accidents during the 2017/18 period.
The Ladder Association has recently started a campaign to encourage ladder users and anyone responsible for the safety of others to take a new approach to ladder training. Get A Grip On Ladder Safety encourages users to recognise when they need a ladder, ensure that they use the right ladder and be properly trained. The Association promotes ladder safety as an important part of contractor training.
Consistent training is the key to competence in the workplace. Ladder safety has traditionally been viewed with a ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ mentality but this is complacent and potentially dangerous. Painting and decorating company Scott Anson Painters insists on the highest levels of health and safety practice for the benefit of both its workers and customers. Companies with exemplary accreditations demonstrate their commitment to delivering high level technical competence.
Unfortunately, it often takes very little to cause a ladder instigated injury, spill or mechanical incident. These ladder safety tips could help minimise the risk:
- Choosing the right ladder is perhaps the most important ladder safety decision. For most homes, a six-foot stepladder should work for any interior paint project. Extension ladders should be used on building exteriors.
- The Goldilocks Principle is an easy to remember concept when it comes to safety. Not too short, not too long, your ladder should rest just in the middle of where you need to reach. An unnecessarily long ladder can be cumbersome whereas a short one will leave you teetering unsafely on the upper rungs.
- When using prop or extension ladders, the angle between the wall and the base of the ladder should be close to 60 degrees. If the angle is too great, the ladder may slide and if too short, the ladder is more prone to topple over.
Regular testing of your ladder is also an important health and safety concern. Check for loose, cracked or slippery rungs and any damage to the side rails. As with any defective equipment, damaged ladders should be clearly labelled and removed from the work site. Having safe work tools is an essential part of maintaining correct health and safety procedures.