Ladders should not be your first choice of equipment, but can be used for low-risk, short-duration tasks. It is important to know which type of ladder you need for the job and how to use it safely.
Ladders should be used when no other form of equipment is reasonable, and a higher level of fall protection is not necessary.
You should only use ladders in circumstances where they can be level and stable and, where it is reasonably practicable, secured.
Knowing How to Use a Ladder
It is important that you are competent or being trained when using a ladder. If you are being trained in using a ladder, you must be supervised by a competent person.
Training should include knowing when it is correct to use a ladder, which type of ladder is appropriate and how to assess the risks involved in using a ladder during certain tasks.
Having a mixture of training, knowledge and experience can go towards proving competence.
Checking Your Ladder Is Safe to Use
It is important to check your ladders for any obvious faults or defects before you use them. These checks should be carried out at the start of the working day and before someone uses them, as well as when something changes, for example, if they are dropped or the conditions of the work area changes.
It is important to check:
- The feet – not missing, worn or damaged
- The stiles – not bent or damaged
- The rungs – not bent worn or missing
- The stepladder platform – not split or buckled
- The steps or treads on stepladders – clean and not loose
- Any locking mechanism – not bent, worn or damaged and working correctly.
If you see any faults with any of these parts, or any of them are missing, do not use the ladder and inform your manager or supervisor.
Where Ladders Can Be Used
A ladder should be used on firm, level ground. The surface should be clean and free from debris, such as oil or litter. A ladder should be set up in an area where it will not be pushed or knocked over by doors, windows or vehicles and where the public cannot come into contact with it. A ladder should be secured correctly before use.
Both stiles of a ladder should be tied at a suitable point and where this is not possible, an effective ladder stability device should be used. If this isn’t possible, the ladder can be wedged securely against a stable surface. Footing the ladder is a last resort and can be used if no other option is suitable.
If you’d like any further guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on the details below.