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How to know your ladder is safe?

How to know your ladder is safe? 

 

Ladder safety can be improved in a variety of ways, and the best way to enforce this is to identify the proper measures and any potential issues before using a ladder. This blog will teach you the fundamentals of determining whether or not your ladder is safe and how to improve the safety of your ladder. 

 

Pre-Checks/inspection 

Implementing a pre-check/inspection routine is one of the most effective ways to improve ladder safety and reduce the possibility of an injury or fatal scenario occurring. Inspection before using a ladder is regarded as one of the most important ways to ensure that your ladder is safe. Learning to perform regular checks on your ladder can help prevent issues from occurring and is thus a requirement to staying safe.  

Implementing this inspection before using a ladder helps keep the user safe by giving them confidence that the ladder is in good condition and thus poses no immediate risk. Ladder inspection also increases the lifespan and longevity of the ladder by identifying any minor issues before they become a major problem. 

The overall health of the ladder will assist you in identifying any potential damage before it's too late. Inspecting your ladder on a regular basis will help you identify any problems with the product as well as potential threats to your health and safety. This is an important part of staying safe when using a ladder. 

When it comes to inspecting your ladder, there are a few key points to keep in mind. 

 

Pre checks to perform 

  • Check for missing or lose rungs 
  • Damaged or worn non-slip feet 
  • Loose nails, screws, bolts or nuts 
  • Worn, loose or faulty spreaders 
  • Rotted, decay or warped rails in wooden ladders 
  • Set the correct angle for the ladder (1:4 ratio) 

Before using your ladder, you should always identify any potential external hazards 

Hazards to look out for 

  • Harsh weather conditions 
  • Unstable surface 
  • Examine other potential dangers such as power lines or obstruction 
  • Don’t put excessive weight on tool shelves  
  • Use the correct tools and footwear 

Inspecting your ladder on a regular basis will not only keep you safe but will also allow you to identify issues with the ladder, which may allow for replacement parts or maintenance to be performed rather than purchasing a brand-new ladder, ultimately saving you money! Learning to identify ladder issues not only helps you avoid potential injuries but also helps you keep others safe. 

 

EN131 Standard 

What exactly is the EN131 Standard? The EN131 standard is a European Union certification for portable steps and ladders that ensures all ladders have been manufactured and tested to ensure maximum safety. Products will be listed if they meet the EN131 standard, ensuring the customer that they are safe and have been thoroughly tested. 

This has now been changed into two different categories for ease of understanding, EN131 Professional and EN131 non-professional. 

EN131 Professional  

  • Both industrial and trade use (Max capacity of 150KG) 

EN131 Non-professional  

  • Domestic use only (150kg load) 

 

EN131 Tests 

The EN131 standard is designed and tested to ensure that consumers have a safe experience. While EN131 is not currently a legal requirement, products that are EN131 certified to ensure that the customer is using a ladder that is tested to the latest safety standards  

What tests does EN131 go through to maintain a “Safe” experience for users 

  • Base slip test 
  • Lateral deflection 
  • Bend test 
  • Strength test 
  • Torsion test 

These tests ensure that the ladder has been tested to its capabilities and is not prone to any major health and safety issues. 

If you want to learn more about EN131, check out our blog post "Ladder Classes Explained." 

 

Ladder safety accessories 

The ladderM8rix 

The ladderM8rix is a ladder stabiliser device, with a secure anti-slip feature that helps secure the base of the ladder and thus reduces the risk of the ladder slipping. This is an excellent accessory to have because it reduces the possibility of an accident occurring and helps to ensure a safe ladder experience. 

Lockable ladder brackets 

Lockable ladder brackets provide a convenient way to store a ladder in your home while keeping it secure against internal or external walls. These brackets have a lockable design for added security. This gives you more flexibility and allows you to easily store your ladder on the exterior or interior of your home. 

Ladder Clamps 

Ladder clamps are designed to allow for the easy and safe transportation of ladders on a motor vehicle by tightly locking them to protect against harsh crosswinds. This allows you to store your ladders as safely as possible. The ladder clamp also aids in preventing theft and freeing up interior space. 

Ladder grips 

Ladder grips are a revolutionary ladder stabilising device that can improve ladder stability by up to 350 per cent. This increases ladder safety and, as a result, reduces the likelihood of an accident occurring. Ladder grips are an excellent way to improve ladder safety. 

 

Check that you’ve got the right ladder for the job 

When it comes to ladder health and safety, one of the most important factors to consider is selecting the proper ladder. Many people adopt the mindset that one ladder fits all scenarios, which is simply not true. The best way to reduce the risk of injury is to use the appropriate ladder for the situation. 

Identifying if it’s the correct type of ladder for the job 

Using a step ladder for exterior window cleaning is possible but not recommended; ladders are specifically designed for a purpose, and using the "wrong equipment" for the job can greatly increase your risk of injury. 

Does your ladder support the necessary weight? 

Another factor to consider is whether your ladder can support the required weight. Choosing a ladder that cannot support the required weight for your job may result in an accident. The weight capacity includes the user's weight as well as the appropriate tools; exceeding this amount increases the likelihood of an accident occurring. 

Is your ladder the correct height for the job? 

Checking to see if your ladder is the proper height is also important for maintaining ladder safety; a ladder that isn't the proper height can cause problems that can easily lead to an accident. Choosing the proper height ladder for the job reduces this because there is no need to overreach or overstretch, resulting in safer working conditions. 

Is the workspace large enough and are there any potential hazards?   

Identifying whether or not there is enough workspace available and whether or not there are any potential hazards is a critical step in maintaining a safe environment. Identifying a scenario in which there are no hazards and a spacious area to work allows you to work stress-free and reduces the likelihood of an incident occurring. 

 

How to store your ladders suitably. 

Adequate storage is an important consideration when it comes to keeping your ladder safe. Keeping a ladder in proper storage and away from harsh conditions can increase its longevity and reduce the likelihood of damage, wear and tear, or other conditions occurring. 

One of the most important ways to keep your ladders secure and safe from potential damage is to store them horizontally. Horizontal storage keeps ladders supported and less vulnerable to damage. Ladder racks and multiple support points will help keep your ladder in good shape. Vertical storage is deemed insufficient because ladders stored vertically are more likely to fall, increasing the risk of the ladder becoming damaged and posing a health and safety risk. 

When storing a ladder or ladders, keep them in a well-ventilated area away from damp and excessive heat. This will help maintain the ladder's condition and thus extend the ladder's life expectancy. This is important for any type of ladder, but it is especially important when discussing wooden ladders, which are more prone to these problems. 

 

Set up your ladder with care 

Make sure the ladder is in a suitable location and is not blocking any doors or access points, that it is on a solid level surface, and that the area around the ladder is uncluttered. Following this advice will assist in maintaining a safe work environment and lowering the likelihood of a ladder-related accident occurring. 

  • 4-1 ratio 
  • Solid level surface 
  • Uncluttered workspace 
  • Don’t exceed the workload limit 

 

Conclusion 

Ladder safety is often overlooked, despite the fact that it is critical. Understanding how to check if your ladder is safe is one of the most important ways to reduce accidents and provide a safer environment for the user. Learning to implement an inspection routine is one of the most important ways to stay safe and ensure your ladder is in good working order. Ladder accessories can revolutionise your ladder and make it a much safer and secure experience, which is another way to boost your confidence when it comes to ladder safety. 

Overall, maintaining optimal ladder health and safety has a number of benefits, including increased user confidence, increased ladder longevity (resulting in less money spent), and improved ladder safety and security. 

If you have any further questions, please call us at 01204 590 232 or email us at [email protected]