Painting is one of those tasks that we’re all going to find ourselves doing at some point. And often in those cases, we’ll use ladders to help us complete the job. This week, we’re taking a moment to address the most important factors to consider while using ladders when painting.
Setting Up Your Ladder
The first thing to consider when setting up your ladder is where you’re working. Is it in a high traffic area, either from members of the public or your own family? It’s never a bad idea to seal off the area as effectively as you can. Put signs and barriers up if outdoors, and if you’re indoors you can take the additional measure of locking doors to stop people from walking straight into you when you’re working, potentially seriously injuring both you and them. Also, avoid any slippery or wet surfaces; even though ladders are designed to be as sturdy as possible, all of that counts for nothing if they’re set up on an unsteady surface. You should always make sure that the ladder is even and stable before you climb it.
The next steps can vary depending on what kind of ladder you’re using. If it’s a stepladder, make sure that all the braces are locked. If it’s an extendable or similarly tall ladder, make sure that it’s secured and braced against the surface it’s leaning against. Additionally, make sure that the steps are free of oil, stray paint or any other liquids or slippery substances that could potentially throw you. At this point it’s always worth checking your own shoes, and whether they are suitable for the job. You’ll want to be wearing sensible, hardwearing footwear with non-slip undersides, to provide an additional guarantee of your safety.
Getting The Job Done
Always face the stepladder when climbing up or down, and ensure that you keep it close to the work. If you find that you need to climb to the top three steps of a ladder in order to work effectively, then your ladder is too short! It’s a pain to find out at this stage, but that pain can become a lot more literal if the ladder overbalances because it’s too top heavy, which it would be for anyone using those top three steps. Keep three points of contact – two feet and one hand at all times – and keep your hips inside the confines of the side rails. Over-extending out to the sides can easily cause the ladder to overbalance, and in the event of an accident it’s unlikely to be the ladder who comes out worse off. Once you hit the extent of your reach, don’t lean out too far just for the sake of quickly finishing it off the whole coat. Just descend and move the ladder. It’s only a little more effort for a lot more safety!
By the same token, using a tool belt allows you to carry your tools with you up the ladder instead of attempting to carry them in one hand. Not only does this make climbing more dangerous, but also puts an extra unnecessary weight on the ladder – not to mention what could happen if the tools fall from a height. It’s wise to think about visibility, too. The job of painting can present its own set of unique hazards, some of which can affect your lungs or vision. If you’re suffering from a coughing fit or something in your eye, is your way as clear as it could be to descend quickly and safely? It might seem like overkill, but then again lots of things do until you wish you’d done them!
Whether you’re painting your living room or your garden wall, we at Browns have the ladders to help you do the job. You can browse our product range to start looking at the most suitable options, or take advantage of one of our access equipment training courses.
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