How to Best Ensure Health and Safety When Using Ladders in the Workplace

There are many aspects of health and safety associated with the modernworkplace. From wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) toappreciating the dangers associated with specific machinery, these issues areeveryones responsibility. Working safely at height is another critical concept, asserious injuries or even death can result from improper practices or poor site management. In fact, the Health and Safety Executive has found that falls from height are associated with more than 20 per cent of all fatalities within the workplace. This is why appreciating some of the basic principles associated with health and safety ladders in the workplace should never be taken lightly. Let us take a closer look at a handful of metrics as well as how they can be applied within such an environment.

Using the Right Equipment for the Task at Hand

The importance of ladders for health and safety will first involve knowing which configuration is the most appropriate. After all, there are a number of designs available. A-frame ladders tend to be used when accessing overhead lighting or during instances when heights of only a few metres need to be reached. Extension ladders are associated with longer reaches; often employed when heights of four metres or more need to be accessed. Always use the right ladder for the job at hand, as you will otherwise increase the chances of a serious fall. Trade Plant Tool Hire offers a number of high-quality solutions.

Assessing Specific Risks

There are certain tasks which might be better approached with a more stable platform such as a scissor lift. This is why the situation at hand needs to be carefully analysed. Specific situations such as carrying heavy loads while ascending a ladder or working in low-light conditions can pose serious health and safety risks. In other words, no two tasks are ever alike. Evaluate each situation in order to determine if profound safety issues are present. Also, it is best to limit the use of a ladder to no more than 30 minutes at any given time. This lessens the chances of a fall due to fatigue or distractions.

Knowing the Mechanical Limitations of the Ladder

All ladders are associated with specific safety limitations. Be well aware of how high it can be safely extended. What is the last step which can be used by the worker before balance is sacrificed? Pay careful attention to the weight limit; taking into account any materials that might be present alongside the employee. Is the ladder rated to be used around electrical equipment? Is the ladder equipped with other accessories such as wider footings when working on uneven ground? These and other metrics should be analysed before beginning any task.

Adhering to Manufacturer Guidelines

Always make it a point to read the instruction manual; even if the use of the ladder appears to be rather straightforward. There are many helpful guidelines contained within these documents such as the length of its warranty as well as procedures which may place workers at a greater risk of falling. This is also important in terms of maintenance recommendations in order to avoid mechanical issues in the future. Please note that the manual should be placed in a location (such as the glove box of a vehicle) where it can be accessed by employees at all times.

Angles and Footings

One of the most critical aspects of health and safety ladders in the workplace involves the angle at which it is placed in relation to the ground. Angles of 75 degrees are recommended. Shallower angles can lead to the ladder kicking out from beneath the worker; leading to a serious fall. Angle approaching 90 degrees are too steep and the risk of tipping backwards becomes very real.

It is also important that the ladder is placed on solid ground. Slick or angled surfaces should be avoided at all cost. When working outdoors, the feet of the ladder should all make contact with the ground below. It is also wise to employ the two-man rule when addressing risky heights. One worker should foot the ladder n order to provide a greater degree of stability. This safety measure will also help to ensure that the proper personnel can be alerted in the event of a fall. Any employee who feels uncomfortable working at a specific height should always be encouraged to ask for help.

The Responsibility of Everyone

Health and safety when working at height must never be taken for granted. Not only should the proper equipment be employed, but all workers need to be made aware of the risks.

Should you have any further questions, or wish to discuss the hire of one of our products, please contact a member of our team today.