Working on ladders can be dangerous and lead to injuries. Following a few simple steps helps ensure worker safety when climbing ladders.
Safety steps to ensure worker safety when climbing ladders
The first step in ensuring worker safety when climbing ladders are to make a few safety checks before using a ladder. This includes checking:
- Stiles, making sure they are not damaged or bent (which could cause a ladder to collapse or buckle)
- Feet, as damaged, worn or missing feet could cause a ladder to slip
- Rungs to ensure they are not bent, loose, missing or worn
- Locking mechanisms, as bent mechanisms or worn fixings, could cause a ladder to collapse. When using a ladder, locking bars must be engaged.
Ladder feet must also be checked when moving from dirty or soft ground (e.g. loose stone or sand, dirty workshop flooring or dug soil) to solid, smooth surfaces (e.g. paving slabs) to ensure the feet are touching the ground and are not impeded by embedded stones, soil, chippings or similar.
If using a stepladder, you should also make sure that the:
- Platform is not buckled or split, as this could make the ladder unstable or cause it to collapse
- Steps or treads are not contaminated or loose
If you notice any of the above-mentioned defects, you should not use the ladder and inform your employer immediately.
Other safety steps
To prevent accidents at work, you should also:
- Use ladders for no longer than 30 minutes at a time and for light work only (if work involves carrying weights exceeding 10 kg, your employer must carry out manual handling assessments)
- Never wear tool belts while working on ladders, as this could cause you to fall by affecting your balance and posture
- Always maintain three-point contact (hands and feet)
- Always have a handhold available and a hand free to grip your ladder
- Make sure the ladder is secured properly and on level, firm ground
More detailed information on worker safety when climbing ladders is provided by the Health and Safety Executive.
If you were injured at work through no fault of your own (if, for example, your employer failed to replace a damaged or faulty ladder) you could qualify for work injury compensation. Have an informal, confidential chat with an Accident Advice Helpline advisor on 0800 689 0500 (UK landline) or 0333 500 0993 (mobile) to get helpful advice and/or get your claim started.
Date Published: March 9, 2017
Author: Accident Advice