Ladders are a useful tool in the workplace. From leaning ladders to stepladders, contractors use ladders to work at height in a variety of jobs, from electrical work to window cleaning. Health and safety should always be a priority when using ladders. Here is a useful checklist for using ladders at work or at home.

Check the state of the ladder

A thorough inspection of your ladders is advised before you attempt to use them, particularly if they have been dropped. Ideally, perform a check at the beginning of each workday.

Start with the ladder’s feet. Make sure there is nothing stuck to the feet, like mud or debris. This could cause the ladder to slip on a smooth surface. Next, check the rungs. If any are loose or bent, don’t use the ladder. Tread fixings should be securely fixed in place to prevent anyone from using the ladder slipping and falling.

Does the ladder have a locking mechanism? Make sure it isn’t worn and the locking bars engage without a problem. If you spot any signs of damage, don’t use the ladders. It’s never worth the risk! Speaking of…

Do a risk assessment

Carry out a risk assessment in the work area. Is the floor even or uneven? Is there enough room to place the ladder in an appropriate place?
If you have a leaning ladder, is it safe to use it? Ladders need to be used at a 45-degree angle. Make sure this won’t place the ladder in the path of pedestrians or moving vehicles. If it does, you will need to put barriers in place. Is there somewhere secure where you can lean the ladder? Ladders should never be placed against a window, plastic gutter, or any other insecure or breakable surface. If necessary, use a stand-off device.
Don’t forget to check whether there are there any overhead power or telecoms lines in your work area? Don’t use a ladder within six metres of overhead power lines.


Brace and secure the ladder

Ladders should be braced and secured to prevent them from falling sideways or slipping. Tie the upper section of the ladder to something secure. Brace the ladder on a solid, non-slip surface. When using stepladders, all four feet must be safe and secure. Do not use a step ladder if the floor is uneven.

Make sure the surrounding area is clear

To avoid any collisions with people or objects, make sure the surrounding area is clear from obstructions. Put guards in place to ensure people, vehicles, and machinery don’t inadvertently collide with your ladders. Try to avoid using ladders next to anything that might move or collapse on the ladders, thus causing you to fall.
If you need to keep equipment handy, place it in an accessible location, but not in harm’s way.

Keep interruptions to a minimum

Plan your job when interruptions are kept to a minimum. Losing concentration while working from a ladder could cause you to overreach and lose your balance. Keep health and safety guidance in mind at all times when using ladders. And if your ladders need replacing, call us today!

Here at Browns, we pride ourselves on maintaining a huge range of ladders and access equipment, both for homeowners and a variety of other tradesmen and professionals. Feel free to browse our full range of ladders here, or give us a call on 01282 615 517, and we’ll see what we can do to help!