This blog looks at how to keep safe when using ladders. We’ll discuss some of the hazards involved and reveal some statistics related to accidents involving ladders.
Ladder Safety in Winter
As winter approaches, more business owners and homeowners will be climbing ladders to complete seasonal errands.
Perhaps you’re installing your outdoor Christmas lights. Or, you’re attempting to clean your gutter and remove autumn’s fallen leaves and twigs.
Either way, we thought it important to provide some expert ladder safety advice to help you avoid the many dangers involved with ladders.
Let’s start with some of our top tips for ladder safety.
7 Basic Rules of Ladder Safety
To help you keep off that huge ladder-related incident list, here are our 7 Basic Rules of Ladder Safety:
1. Place ladder at the correct angle
Ladders should be positioned at a 75-degree angle. To achieve this, follow the 1 in 4 rule: make sure the distance from the base to the wall is a quarter of the height at the ladder’s resting point. This will create a 75-degree angle.
2. Always face the ladders
Don’t try to go up a ladder backwards or sideways. Always face the ladder when climbing it and ensure both hands are gripping each side of the ladder as you go.
3. Keep 3 points of contact
You should always keep three points of contact when using ladders. You can keep two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot on the ladder at all times. The image below demonstrates the three points of contact.
4. Avoid the top three rungs
Never use the top three rungs of a ladder without additional safety equipment. Standing on the top rungs can make the ladder unstable, causing it to wobble or slip.
5. Don’t use near electricity
Metal and electricity provide the perfect ingredients for an electric shock. So, don’t use a ladder near live cables if you don’t want to run the risk of electrocution.
6. Use slip-resistant footwear
Always use slip-resistant footwear when climbing ladders. Shoes that offer little grip or clunky heels are hazardous. They can cause your feet to slip or get caught in a rung, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
7. Don’t overreach
It’s important not to overreach when using ladders. It’s easy to fall into the trap of stretching a little instead of rearranging the ladders. But in doing so, you can tip the ladder and increase the risk of it falling.
Ladder Hazards in the UK
Ladders and stepladders are important tools for businesses and homeowners. They let us reach heights easily and without the need for machinery or scaffolding. But each year, thousands of people are involved in ladder-related accidents:
- A third of all workplace injuries involve ladders
- Ladders cause 20% of fatal accidents in the catering industry
- Ladder accidents cost the UK economy £60 million every year
- Over 44,000 non-fatal injuries per year involve a fall from height
With more and more people undertaking DIY around the home and in their businesses, these figures are likely to increase. Unless you know how to avoid the hazards.
What are common ladder hazards?
Being aware of the hazards involved with ladders will reduce the likelihood of yourself and others being involved in an accident. Let’s have a look at some dangers so you can avoid them:
- Overloading. If tools and equipment being carried up and down the ladder exceed the recommended weight, you run the risk of having the ladder tip or fall.
- Uneven ground. It’s important to make sure the ladders are gripped to a non-slippy, flat surface to ensure they don’t lift or move. If they do, you’re likely to come crashing back down.
- Bad equipment. You’d be surprised how many accidents occur due to poorly maintained ladders. Check your rungs and attachments often to avoid working with loose or broken parts.
- Incorrect handling. Incorrect handling of ladders can result in back issues when carrying and lifting. And if positioned incorrectly, it can fall before you’ve even started.
- Falling objects. Falling objects from ladders pose a threat to you and those around you. Heavy items can cause serious damage when dropped from the top of a ladder.
Solution: Call a Roofing Expert
There are many reasons why you may feel the need to shoot up a ladder. And if you feel confident, that’s great. Just make sure to follow our 7 Basic Rules of Ladder Safety and you’ll be fine.
But, if the dangers involved with ladders are causing you some concern, give us a call instead.
Whether your gutter needs cleaning or repairing, or you got issues with your roof, the Dalton Roofing team have worked on thousands of houses during our three decades in the roofing business.
That means we’ve got plenty of experience with ladders. So, if you don’t feel up to it, get in touch and we will be more than happy to assist you with any issues.