Ladderwise Tips And Advice For Hedge Trimming And Gardening Jobs

Ladderwise Tips And Advice For Hedge Trimming And Gardening Jobs

05th February 2014

Safety Ladders As the winter leaves us behind and spring begins to rear its beautiful head, our thoughts naturally turn to the garden and some of the jobs that we need to do to make the most of our outdoor spaces.  If hedge trimming is part of your regular garden maintenance plan, here are some tips and advice on how to use ladders safely in the garden as you prepare for the glorious summer months ahead.

CONVENTIONAL LADDER

  • Use the 1 in 4 rule – for every 4 units of height to climb, the ladder should be one unit out from the base of the hedge/wall – the ladder angle should be 75˚.
  • Never rest the feet of the ladder on soft or sloping ground.  The ladder should rest on a solid surface at all times.  If you have nobody to hold the bottom of the ladder steady, then secure with a rope to stop it from slipping.
  • Don’t lean the ladder against a hedge or tree trunk unless you are able to tie it securely.
  • Try to make sure that somebody is with you at all times in case of an emergency.
  • Never lean outside the stiles (uprights) of the ladder to extend your reach – once you’ve trimmed the area you can comfortably reach from the ladder, it’s time to move the ladder along to the next section of the hedge.
  • If you’re pruning a tree or shrub that’s growing next to a solid wall, make sure that the ladder is on firm, level ground at all times and lean the top of the ladder against the solid wall rather than the tree or shrub.
  • When you discard the clippings/prunings make sure that they won’t fall on anybody standing below you.  Similarly, make sure that none of your tools are able to fall (use a work belt if necessary to hold your tools).
  • Do not stand on the top three rungs of the ladder – these should be used for a handhold only.

STEP LADDER

  • Make sure that the ground where you rest the foot of the ladder is firm and level and that all four legs have firm contact with the ground
  • Use a ladder that is large enough to allow you to reach your work area easily without standing on the top rungs.  
  • Whatever job you are undertaking, work forwards and upwards, never work sideways.
  • Don’t place your ladder alongside the hedge or you will be leaning your weight against the stable support of the ladder.
  • If cutting a hedge from a step ladder, always make sure you face inwards towards the hedge.  
  • Make sure you use the locking devices on the step ladder and ensure that they are fully engaged each time you move the ladder along.

ALL TYPES OF LADDER

  • When using a ladder of any type, you should maintain a handgrip at all times.  This is especially difficult when working in the garden as not many tools are designed to be used one-handed (with the exception of handsaws and secateurs.  
  • Most power tools and cutting tools for use in the garden are designed to be used two-handed – this is why it’s so important not to use the top three rungs/steps on the ladder.
  • Always wear flat, sensible shoes when using a ladder and check the rungs/steps to ensure that they are not slippery.
  • Take regular breaks to make sure that you don’t become tired and make mistakes.