Ladder Safety - Shout it from the Rooftops

Ladder Safety - Shout it from the Rooftops

02nd September 2014

Here in the UK we’re lucky in as much as we have some of the most stringent health and safety at work regulations in the world.  Even so, roofing work can be a pretty dangerous business and official figures show that the most common work related injuries in Britain are among those who work at height.  Although we’ve seen a steady decline in the number of fatal injuries at work, there is still some room for improvement in making work places her in the UK as safe as possible.  With those in the roofing industry particularly likely to be at risk we take a look at some basic safety advice for tradesmen and building or business owners.  Having the following knowledge as second nature will help ensure that you stay as safe as possible when working at height.

Avoid Fragile Roofs – If work needs undertaking on a badly damaged or fragile roof look into the possibility of the work being undertaken from underneath.  Mobile elevated work platforms and other types of work platforms enable workers to access the roof without having to stand on it.  This is usually a much safer option than working on a fragile surface.  However, if working on the damaged roof is unavoidable then an effective staging solution will be necessary to spread the weight along with perimeter edge protection.   If the safety installations have guard rails the use of a harness system or safety nets will also be necessary.

Ladders that are used for roofing work need to be industrial grade and in excellent condition at all times.  Domestic ladders should never be used for roofing work.

All ladders should be inspected before use and on each occasion that it is moved along to extend access.

The ladder should be in good overall condition with no wear or damage on the stiles or the rungs.  The feet and end caps should be present and in good condition in order to provide a secure grip.  The ladder should not be contaminated in any way, i.e. paint, grease, varnish, etc.).

The ladder needs to be placed on a firm, even surface and any stabilising device available should be used.  The ladder must always be tied off at the top to minimise any movement and the ladder should be retied every time it is moved along. 

Regular ladder inspections and care during use and storage will prolong the life of a ladder but ladders do need replacing from time to time.  If your ladder has seen better days don’t take the risk of trying to make it last as long as possible – trade it in for a new model.  Take advantage of this year’s Ladder Exchange to get yourself a brand new ladder at a bargain price.  Despite the improvement in safety statistics in recent years, statistics show that somebody is injured using a ladder in the UK every three minutes.  Ensuring that your ladders are in tip top condition at all times is a detail that you can’t afford to overlook.