Ladder Safety In A Domestic Setting

Ladder Safety In A Domestic Setting

06th January 2014

Ladder safety is always an important consideration whether during domestic use or use in industry.  Choosing the right ladder for the job and using it correctly is vital in order to minimise the risk of an accident.  I remember needing to go into my attic when I was alone in the house one time.  I got out the step ladder and positioned it below the hatch in the hallway ceiling – this meant that the ladder was located alongside the banister so I climbed the ladder with a steep stairwell on my left hand side. 

As I’m rather short, actually getting into the loft involved holding on and pulling myself up through the hatch.  This was all well and good as I have quite strong arms and was able to take my body weight comfortably.  However, as my legs swung out, they caught the top rail of the ladder knocking it over.  I was now stuck in the attic with no safe means of getting down! 

Rather than sort out that problem immediately, I just went about my business in the attic while ignoring my plight.  Then it was time to get back down again.  It was no use waiting for somebody to come in and help me by propping the ladder back into place – nobody was due until the kids got home from school and I needed to be there at the school bus stop to collect them.  The thought of  the school bus arriving and  me not being there to greet the kids started to worry me so I was determined to get down from the attic by whatever means.  There I was, a 40 year old woman, less than five feet tall, stuck in the attic with no help but with tonnes of determination.  I slowly lowered myself through the hatch until I was dangling by my arms in the upstairs hallway.  The ladder was right underneath me on its side leaving me no clear space to jump into.  I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth and swung myself as hard as I could.  I just managed to clear the ladder on the floor and rolled into the bathroom at the end of the hallway, bashing my shoulder on the door frame.  Luckily, I’m pretty tough and wasn’t hurt in any way.  However, this experience has made me far more safety conscious when using ladders or any other equipment.

Although it’s quite an amusing story, this could have been a disastrous incident for somebody less fit and agile than I am.  When using ladders, step ladders and step stools, it’s important to make sure that we take all the safety issues into account.  When ladders are used as part of work practice in industry and commerce, there are rules and regulations governing their safe use to minimize the risk of accident.  However, when we use ladders in a domestic setting, there are no regulations in place to protect us.  This means that when we use ladders in the home we are responsible for our own safety and need to make sure that we are familiar with best practice and how to use the ladder in questions safely and effectively.