Important Questions to Ask Before Using a Ladder

Important Questions to Ask Before Using a Ladder

09th March 2020

Most people usually don’t ask questions when climbing a ladder. And, unfortunately, ignorance and negligence are among the most contributors to ladder falls and injuries. To reduce and stop these preventable falls and injuries, there are important questions that every user needs to ask before stepping onto a ladder. 

1.    Is it the Best Tool for the Task?

Ladders are known to be particularly portable and convenient among elevating tools. However, they’re also very unstable and not firmly secured to anything, which makes them very risky. Therefore, if you have an option of more stable elevating tools, such as scaffolding, lifts, and elevated work platforms, use them instead of a ladder to minimise the risk.

2.    Are You Using the Right Ladder

Not just any ladder can be used to perform a particular task. You need to select the right one for the task. This involves having the right material, design, and quality of construction. The ladder should be in perfect condition as it should and was purchased from a reliable source. CE accredited fabrications guarantee the products are designed and constructed according to the relevant health and safety directives.

3.    Does the Work Environment Favour the Use of a Ladder?

The surrounding conditions need to be safe and ideal for using a ladder. You should avoid using the ladder if:
●    The weather outside is wet or windy. If it is, consider postponing the task to a later time.
●    You’ll be positioning the ladder where the danger of falling is increased, like a ledge or a balcony.
●    The surface is unstable, slippery, removable, or mobile. The ladder should be leaning against a sturdy structure. If this isn’t the case, look for a sturdy levelling device and a stabiliser.   
●    There are cables, wires, or ropes that could cause an obstruction. Check also for other obstructions like pets, pedestrians, and other moving objects.

4.    Will You be Carrying Heavy Items When Using the Ladder?

Every ladder has a maximum weight limit that you shouldn’t exceed. Before using a ladder, check for its limit. If you’ll be carrying any heavy items, ensure to check that the total weight (your weight and that of the items) is below the limit.

5.    Do You Know How to Use it Properly?

While ladders may seem very easy to use, they account for hundreds and thousands of workplace injuries. There are specific guidelines that need to be followed for your safety and those around you. You need to be competent enough to be able to use a ladder properly. Ensure to first receive proper training on the proper use of ladders or have someone well trained to supervise you as you work.

6.    How Much Time Will You be Standing on the Ladder?

Ladders are recommended for tasks that take a very short time to complete. Some tasks, such as painting or installing siding, usually require a longer time to complete. If the task is supposed to take quite a long time, consider using other access systems.

7.    What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

You need to consider also the probability of the worst-case scenario happening. This will guide you on measures to take to minimise the risk and the possible consequences.