Retailers - The Safe Use Of Kicksteps & Stepladders at Work

David Potter 18/03/15

When working in retail, busy storerooms, offices or workplaces you may have to use access equipment to reach items kept at height. Kicksteps and Step Ladders may be an ideal solution but staying safe and knowing how to correctly use this equipment is vital. In this article we will provide you with safety tips that apply to using kicksteps or stepladders at work. 

If you are wondering what a Kickstep is, it’s likely that you will have seen them before, they are small steps that are easy to

 move and transport and are ideal for reaching products that are stored at height. At Kicksteps are available in steel and plastic. As a Kickstep is not a ladder, it does not have stability issues like a free standing ladder however there are many hazards that you should be aware of.  

The Kickstep may be new to some employees and therefore employers must ensure that their workers know how to use the equipment, safe use instructions should be which could be found in manufacturer manual. 

When using a Kickstep it is essential that you inspect it for damage before every use, you should check for damage including wear and tear on the base, contamination of the steps, such as liquids and bending or impact damage which could weaken the step. You should also look around your work area to check for spillages, obstacles and potential hazards which may affect your safety when working at height.

Although the next safety tip may sound obvious, when using a kickstep you must take into account the clothing that you are wearing, using a kickstep wearing 6” heels is probably not the best idea in the world and the risk from falling increases. Users of the kickstep should wear flat shoes with a closed toe. Other clothing items should also be taken into account when using Kicksteps, for example; long or baggy trousers could be a potential hazard and should be secured to avoid tripping or catching. 

The Kickstep is a very easy way to hop on and off and is very convenient to move and use in many areas. It is crucial that you do not over reach and stretch while using the kickstep, it’s easy enough to move and to over stretch could easily result in losing balance, if you cannot comfortably reach and handle materials stored at height you should use alternative access equipment. 

                                                              The HSE, (Health & Safety Executive) states that a step ladder can be used for short periods of time and you should only use ladders in situations where they can be used safely, when the ladders are level and stable. If you are using a ladder at work it is the employers duty to ensure that the user is competent and understands how to use the equipment safely, potentially through workplace training. If you want to equip yourself or your staff with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to use ladders legally and safely enquire about our combined Ladder Association, Ladder Users and Inspection Course.

When using ladders you should always carry out ‘pre-use’ checks to spot obvious defects and damages to ensure that the ladders are safe to use. Pre-use checks should include the inspection of the stiles, feet, rungs, locking mechanisms, stepladder platform and treads. This is to check that these elements are not worn or damaged and that the platforms or treads are not contaminated which could make them slippery. If you notice an element of the ladder may be damaged, Do NOT use the equipment. 

As part of the working at height regulations of 2005 you must regularly inspect your equipment, a simple way to keep track of this is by using the Ladder Log Inspection Tags by Ladderstore. Order your FREE sample.

When using a stepladder to carry out tasks it is important to ensure that; all four stepladder feet are on the ground, you don’t over-reach and you avoid side loading when possible. (This may be difficult in stock rooms or narrow isles) If it is difficult to avoid side loading you should carry out a risk assessment to see if the right equipment is being used. For more information on using stepladders safely and to determine if a stepladder is appropriate this HSE publication may help you decide.

If you are struggling to find the right equipment for your access needs or you are unsure on what access equipment you require, don’t hesitate to contact our expert team and discuss your requirements by calling 01204 590 232.