The festive season is in full swing, which means it’s likely that you’ve already moved your decorations down from the loft, and they’re already pinned up in all their spectacular festive glory. However, in addition to storing Christmas decorations, many people use their lofts around this time of year to act as a valuable holding area for some of the bigger presents you don’t want other family members to discover. And with the big day drawing ever closer, you may already be thinking about how to move those down. Big presents notwithstanding, in a few weeks you’ll be moving the Christmas decorations straight back up there again, so it’s worth taking these key steps to ensure that ensuring the bare minimum of basic safety with your loft ladder.

Inspect your loft ladder beforehand

Most of us use our loft ladders infrequently at best, which can give plenty of time for issues to develop between uses. What’s more, since we use them so rarely, we might not consider checking or replacing them for a lot longer than we might with other access equipment, such as garden ladders. For these reasons alone, it’s always worth giving your loft ladder a quick once-over before you set foot on it; you are trusting your physical safety to it, after all. What’s more, you will need to know its weight rating if you’re carrying particularly heavy items up and down. Accidentally exceeding this weight rating can be extremely dangerous, as not only do you run the risk of the ladder collapsing beneath you, but also of the object you’re carrying causing further harm to you on the way down!

Clear your environment thoroughly

This is one of those rules about working at height which holds true whatever the circumstances. It’s especially vital when you’re performing tasks in a family household environment, where other people might not be fully aware or appreciative of what you’re doing. Ideally, you should close off the landing if you can, or at least make it clear to everyone to steer clear of the area while you’re fetching things up and down. As well as keeping children (and their toys!) well clear of the foot of the ladder, when you’re fetching multiple items down, make sure to take the time to place them well clear of the bottom of the ladder. Otherwise, it’s an easy way to tread on something, or worse – go sprawling over it!

Make sure you’ve got enough light to work with

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A particularly important piece of guidance for once you’re up in the loft, it’s absolutely vital that you can see what you’re doing. After all, you don’t want to trip over something as you’re walking towards the open loft hatch – the consequences don’t bear thinking about. We’d advise against simply using a normal bedside lamp on an extension lead. To properly ensure your safety, really you’ll want to be utilising permanent, bright lighting that’s already installed in your loft. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of quickly changing a bulb, but the benefit to your safety when doing so really can’t be overstated. If you must, you can use the lamp and extension lead as an absolute last resort (anything’s better than taking risks in the dark), but make sure it’s just a temporary solution!

Recognise when it’s a two-man job

One aspect of ladder safety you may have heard us mention before at Browns is the concept of three points of contact. This means at any one time you should always have both feet and at least one hand in contact with the ladder. If it’s any less, then you risk the chance of not being able to catch yourself when you overbalance. That means if you’re carrying particularly bulky boxes down (whether or not they’re light), it’s generally a good idea to work out a system of how you’re going to pass it down to someone below. It might spoil a surprise or two, but it’s certainly preferable to someone finding you injured at the bottom of your loft ladder!

Here at Browns, we have a vast range of ladders available for sale right here on our website, including several excellent examples of loft ladders such as our Lyte 3 Section Timber Easiloft Ladder. What’s more, if you’ve got worries about the structural soundness of one of your ladders – whether you use it at home or at work – we can help with that too. We offer professional, accredited ladder inspections so that we’re always able to guarantee your safety. To book yours, just give us a call on 01282 615 517. And from all of us at Browns Ladders, have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!