Health & Safety Week - When to Use a Ladder and What to Use

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Today we will be taking a look at when to use a ladder and how to decide what equipment should be used.

If we have not covered anything that you need to know then don’t worry, tomorrow, on the final day of Health & Safety Week we will be hosting a Q&A on Twitter so if you are not following already, give us a follow @ladderstore and get involved.

When should you be using a ladder?

The HSE publication regarding the safe use of ladders and stepladders says that a ladder should only be used when “a risk assessment has shown that using equipment offering a higher level of fall protection is not justified.” Ladders may be the perfect solution for low-risk, short-duration tasks and if you need to use a ladder you should make sure you are using the right equipment and you are using it safely.

How to select your work equipment

The duration and frequency of use are just one of the things that should be taken into account when selecting your equipment. If you are using working at height equipment regularly and for longer durations scaffold towers or podium steps may be more suitable than step ladders or extension ladders.

You should also take a look at the class rating and the max load of the ladder that you are using. When it comes to weight you should also account for any tools that you are using when on the ladder as it all adds up. You should also ensure that if you are doing any workaround electricity you use glass fibre ladders. This is because these ladders do not conduct electricity like the aluminium variety.

Depending on what job you are planning to do you also need to look at the height of the ladder required. Hop-Ups such as the Youngman Odd Job are perfect for low-level jobs however they may cause over-reaching.

The Ladder Association code of practice gives the following points on the selection of your work equipment

  • Account for the need for easy and timely evacuation and rescue in an emergency
  • Account for equipment that gives collective protection priority over personal protection
  • Take into account any distance that may need to be negotiated for access or egress
  • Identify and minimise the distance and consequences of any fall
  • Consider the duration and frequency of use
  • Allow for any additional risk posed by the installation, use and removal of the proposed work equipment. Different types of work equipment have different risks associated with their use. For example, towers may have higher levels of risk associated with their erection and use. However, the long duration required to perform the task may justify their use
  • Ensure the equipment is appropriate to the nature of work the foreseeable loadings and has suitable dimensions to allow passage without risk

All of the points mentioned above should be considered when looking for working at height equipment for your next job. If you are still unsure about what equipment you need you can always give us a call on 01204 590 232 or join us tomorrow on Twitter for our Q&A session using the hashtag #AskLadderstore

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