While the festive season may be upon us, for tradespeople across the country the work doesn’t stop. During the cold and slippery weather, risk is heightened and there is a greater chance of having an accident. Whether you’re climbing a step ladder or a larger extension ladder, risk awareness needs to be at the front of your mind.
Each year, 14 people are killed in the UK by falling from ladders, and ladder falls account for a third of all workplace accidents. That makes it one of the single biggest dangers to DIY enthusiasts and tradespeople alike, but taking the right precautions can make all the difference. Here are a few of our top tips for staying safe this festive season.
Avoid holding objects as you climb the ladder
Whether you’re going up the ladder for work, or to put up your Christmas decorations, never climb a ladder while holding an object.
The temptation is to climb with a tool, a box or decorations, but this can cause an accident. Ladder safety is all about keeping an even weight on all parts as you climb. If you aren’t holding on with both hands, you’re not only likely to be off-balance yourself, but also risk toppling the ladder with the uneven weight of whatever you’re carrying. Always ask someone to assist you by safely passing items to you when you have reached an even balanced and safe place at the top.
Ensure your ladder is sturdy
It’s obvious that it is easier to slip in the wet, but the rush to get tasks done – especially during Christmas – can lead to trying to cut corners. It might be tempting, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Thankfully, wet weather doesn’t mean you have to stop entirely, as long as you take the proper precautions. Rubber ladder grip pads that sit underneath each leg of your ladder will add suitable grip while working in wet conditions. These are reasonable priced and reduce the potential to slip all year round.
If you’re working on uneven surfaces like cobbles or rocky ground, placing a flat, solid surface under your ladder will flatten the surface and offer protection against dangerous ground.
Set your ladder up in a safe place
There can often be increased foot traffic during the festive period, with more people being off work and children having their Christmas holidays. You might find that the relatively quiet area around your job site is suddenly becoming busier and busier, whether that’s in a public place like an office building, or just family coming and going around your own home. So, if you’re working near doorways or windows, be sure to warn those around you that you’re working up a ladder and to be careful. The higher you are, the easier it is for a small bump at the bottom to knock the legs from underneath you. Creating awareness is a simple way for you to ensure that everyone is mindful of your safety.
Wear the right clothes for the occasion
The cold is always one of the most obvious issues when working outside, so it’s imperative to keep yourself warm with the right PPE – for example, hardy gloves and boots with good grip can prevent you from slipping. It’s not just the rain on your ladder you need to worry about either, as ice and snow melting on your ladder can cause safety issues too. If you’re working high up, melting ice can drip onto the ladder steps without you realising, and lubricate the steps as you work. Better hand and foot grip will give you better help in such situations.
And of course, all the training and precautions in the world will only protect you up to a point – you also need to think about the tools and equipment you have to hand. You can’t stay safe if you’re using outdated or worn out equipment. If you’re not sure whether your current ladder is up to scratch, then do give us a call. Our wide range of ladders are perfect for tradespeople, hobbyists or to keep for use around the house. For further help or advice, call on 01282 615517 and we’ll identify the right ladder for your needs.