For those with an occupation such as a contractor, window cleaner or electrician, the daily use of a ladder becomes second nature, but are you considering safety enough?

What is there to know about ladder safety?

Every year thousands of people are injured, and sometimes even killed due to ignorance towards ladder safety. With a better understanding of basic procedures that should be carried out before using a ladder, the majority of ladder accidents could be prevented.

It has been reported that 90,000 people receive emergency treatment from ladder related injuries every year – the most common injury being broken bones or fractures!

By following these simple steps you will significantly reduce your risk of injury.

Things to ensure before using a ladder –

  1. Check the appearance of your ladder. Ensure there is no visible damage or bends, in the rungs, stiles or platforms. Checking the steps and treads to make sure they aren’t split, worn, or have anything on them that could cause you to slip. Making sure the platform hasn’t buckled as this could become unstable and collapse.
  2. The weight capacity and height of your ladder should be checked and deemed suitable before use.
  3. Where possible, make sure somebody is holding the bottom of the ladder to eliminate the risk of the ladder slipping.
  4. Try to avoid holding anything whilst climbing, and consider using a tool belt.
  5. Only carry essential light tools and materials, and ensure you are able to hold on to the ladder with at least one hand, but preferably both hands!
  6. Check the ground your ladder rests upon is level, firm and stable.
  7. Check the ladder prior to use to see if it slips where it is rested at the top. If so, realign the ladder or use rubber or similar to create greater friction between the rest point.

For more information and an in-depth guide on ladder safely, see the HSE Ladder guide. 

If, after reading this, you feel your ladder is a ‘step’ in wrong direction, have a look at Western Industrial Products wide range of stepladders, platform ladders, safety steps and office steps – and make sure you and your employees are as safe as possible when working with ladders!

Article compiled by: Laura Pay-Savage