Just because it’s winter, the jobs don’t slow down. Tradesmen continue to be inundated with jobs that in the summer seem trivial, yet by winter can turn treacherous. What’s more, homeowners are likely to dabble in their own DIY over the Christmas and New Year holidays, or use ladders whilst putting up festive decorations to celebrate the season. In today’s blog, we’ll be looking at how to use ladders and steps safely during these months, to prevent injury and fatal accidents.
Choose your ladder wisely
As with any time of the year, use the correct ladder. The ladder should be a proper length to safely reach the height you need to complete your work. Make sure you acquire a ladder that can handle your weight plus whatever load you may be carrying up the ladder. Each ladder is rated and clearly marked with the maximum weight that it can support. You can read more about this in our previous ‘How To’ knowledge blogs.
Carry out a thorough inspection
You should always inspect your ladder whenever you use one, but during the winter months, attention to detail here is more important than ever. Before you get on the ladder, check it out for damage. The ladder should also be properly inspected for slippery substances such as grease, mud, oil, ice or snow. A slippery surface can instantly create a safety hazard.
Check your working area
Ensure your working area is clear of leaves, debris, snow and ice – the main culprits for a slippery surface throughout autumn and winter. Don’t take the risk of resting your ladder on leaves or frosty grass and remove the risk before working. Make sure you repeat this check every time you move the ladder as similar dangers may be present.
Check the ladder AND your feet
Ensure soles of your feet are clean and that ladder treads and feet are clean. You may have removed the risks from beneath your feet but have your checked the soles of your feet and the ladder you’re planning to work from? Ensure they haven’t picked up any dirt, snow, or debris during their journey to the ladder.
Follow typical ladder safety guidelines
Use the ladder at a 75 degree angle. Don’t forget the basics at this time of the year. It’s far to easy to focus on all those winter elements that you end up forgetting about the day-to-day risks of using a ladder or steps. You can remind yourself of all the usual safety risks and hazards by reading our previous blog posts on ladder and step ladder safety.
Use a safety mat
Consider footing ladder accessories to maximise your stability. Laddermate, Ladder M8rix or Ladder Mat are just some of the accessories out there to prevent your ladder slipping. You’ll find all of these products in the accessories section of our website, available to buy now.
Monitor weather conditions
Do not use ladders and steps in high winds. Bad weather can lead to slips, trips or falls from ladders.