Spring is in the air, and you might be thinking about taking advantage of the nicer weather to get started on some spring cleaning around the house. As ever, you’ll probably find that access equipment is your best friend – but it’s vital to follow proper procedure to guarantee your own safety and that of others around you.
General Ladder Safety
You may well have a laundry list of tasks you plan to get started on this weekend, but before you do it’s a good idea to take a few quick steps to ensure you’re using your ladder safely. Firstly, always make sure that you’re using the right ladder for the job. An unsuitable one could not only make the task itself difficult, but it almost always poses a direct risk of injury. For example, if you’re using a ladder that’s too short for the task at hand, standing too high up on it could cause it to overbalance far more easily, leading to a greater risk of falling.
Also, check all the locks and extensions on your ladder well before use, and make sure that it’s thoroughly up to the task of supporting you. We recently mentioned that a large number of telescopic ladders in Derbyshire were found to be dramatically unsafe for their users, a discovery that was made after a simple check.
Finally, make sure that you’re using the right Personal Protection Equipment for the job. If you’re going to be painting, for example, eye protection and a dust mask are the absolute minimum for what you’ll need to shield your eyes and mouth from harmful fumes.
Working At Height While Cleaning Gutters Or Windows
When performing any task that might require particular height – for example, clearing out gutters or cleaning windows, generally you’ll want a roof ladder (such as our Lyte Aluminium single section ladder) for the job. These are specially designed with features such as ridge hooks to provide extra safety and stability at extreme heights.
However, these features only work to secure your physical safety if you’re already taking all the necessary precautions. For example, always ensure that the ladder is stable and even before you climb it, and is resting on a level surface. When climbing it, watch out for any slippery surfaces – if it’s raining (or has just finished doing so), you might want to consider delaying the task for a day or two, to minimise the risk of injury.
Clearing gutters in particular often requires the use of long, sometimes unwieldy implements. It’s especially easy to lose your balance (or unbalance the ladder) while using these, so take care. On a similar note, if you can’t reach the area you want to you should always descend and simply move the ladder closer – never attempt to reach it from where you are. The golden rule is always keep your hips between the handrails – if you move out too far to either side you again risk losing your balance, and potentially falling from the ladder.
When going up or down, face the ladder and keep three points of contact. This is again one of the most important rules of safe ladder use – a vast proportion of known accidents each year could have been avoided by adhering to this simple measure.
Check back in with our blog next week to catch up with some more of our tips on effective use of access equipment when spring cleaning. In the meantime, if the gutters or windows are top of your list you can click here to browse our selection of roof ladders, or call us on 01282 615517 if you need any help or advice.
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