What is ladder safety?
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Ladders are used all the time, both at home and at work and they are a fast and convenient way of reaching things that we couldn’t get to without them. Ladders are used for everything from getting something just out of reach to accessing the gutters on our properties which can be up at 4 or 5m from the ground. The thing is though, ladders aren’t as safe as we would like to think and every year thousands of people are injured when using them.
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Ladder Safety Statistics
How about these for some interesting ladder statistics:
- Ladders account for 40% of all accidents when working at height in the workplace
- Men are twice as likely to have an accident than women
- There are around 48,000 accidents which require medical attention associated with falling from ladders whilst doing DIY per year
With there being so many accidents associated with ladder use (131 per day!) it is clear that ladder safety is a really important topic, but what is causing so many ladder accidents?
What Causes Ladder Accidents?
The main causes of ladder accidents are:
- Using the wrong ladder. Typically, this is when a ladder is used that is too short for the job being carried out, but it may also simply be the wrong type of ladder for the task. This can lead to people putting the ladder on top of something unstable or standing too far up the ladder.
- Using a damaged ladder. Everything wears out, and the constant stresses that ladders encounter can weaken their structure over time. This can cause the feet to wear or the ladder rungs/treads to become loose or bent. Ultimately these ladders will fail, potentially leading to a fall from height.
- Using a ladder incorrectly is a big contributor to accidents. This can be anything from climbing the ladder incorrectly, to trying to alter the position of the ladder whilst on it. Over-reaching, leaning or not maintaining three points of contact all contribute to falls from ladders.
- Poor ladder placement also contributes to accidents. This can be from not having the feet on a firm and level surface to the angle of the ladder being incorrect, to the ladder not being footed or even placed in front of doors which can be opened, impacting the ladder.
Although ladders are used very frequently, it is clear that quite often, they are used incorrectly and, as such, it is important that people are trained on the correct use of ladders.
What is ladder safety training?
At Chris Garland training we have several ladder & step ladder training courses: inspection and use of ladders. We even have a free inspection checklist available for homeowners and businesses to download.
These courses are aimed at both the home user and also businesses, to ensure that when ladders are used, they are used correctly & safely. The courses cover everything from the things to look for when inspecting a ladder such as:
- Checking the styles to ensure they aren’t buckled or split
- Checking back braces on swing back ladders to ensure they are straight and firm
- Checking feet and end caps to ensure they are present and in good condition
- Checking the rungs to ensure they are tight; all are present and that they aren’t buckled
- Where ladder hooks are present, they’re straight and tight and secure
- Any spreader bars that are present are secure and undamaged
- Ladder ratings are suitable for the job at hand
- Fitted ladder brackets are in place, tight, secure and undamaged
These checks do not need to take long but can be a real lifesaver.
The courses will also cover how to use ladders safely in a hands-on manner. The courses cover the following:
- Pre-use checks as detailed above
- Ensuring the rungs are clean and free from dirt and grease
- How to climb ladders safely by facing the ladder, keeping in the centre of the ladder styles, using good footwear, climbing slowly and deliberately and keeping three points of contact at all times
- How to position a ladder safely using the 1 out 4 up method, making sure that the ladder is extended to the height of the job, using only firm ground to put the ladder on and ensuring the ground is level and the ladder feet are both in firm contact with the floor
- Never work on the top three or four rungs, depending on the type of ladder
- Maintaining 3 points of contact and not leaning or overreaching
If you are a DIY user or a company that requires its employees to use ladders, why not give Chris Garland Training a call to talk about your training needs, we will be happy to advise you on the best course for you and your company.