Stay Safe When Working with Kicksteps

Stay Safe When Working with Kicksteps

15th July 2015

Most people working in the construction industry are well aware that working at height is a risky business. Despite having some of the strictest regulations in the work here in the UK, an average of 50 people a year die as a result of falling from a ladder and more than 8,000 are injured annually. There’s plenty of information available on how to stay safe while working at height in the construction industry, but what about those who use kicksteps in their work. Kicksteps are pretty common items of access equipment in a wide range of industries. They’re used across the board in retail, offices, storerooms and other workplaces and it’s vital that those who are expected to use this type of access equipment know how to stay safe and use the equipment safely at all times.

If you’re not sure what a kickstep is, then just take a trip to your local library – chances are that there’s one tucked away in a corner somewhere that can be dragged out and moved into position when shorter staff members need to reach the highest shelves in order to replace returned books. When not being used to access the higher shelves, these kicksteps are often used as a seat when shelving books on the lower shelves – after all, it will save staff from kneeling on the floor whilst doing so.

Kicksteps are small steps that are easy to move around and are ideal for reaching products that are stored at a height that’s just out of reach. Kicksteps are available in both plastic and steel so it’s essential that the correct kickstep is provided – one that it robust enough to stand up to the tasks at hand. Because kicksteps are not ladders, they don’t have the same stability issues and represent a much safer method of accessing shelving and other storage. Despite their stability, there are hazards associated with using kicksteps that you’ll need to be aware of.

The first step is to read the manufacturer’s manual for the kickstep thoroughly in order to familiarise yourself with the specific model you will be using.

Before using a kickstep you’ll need to inspect it for damage of any kind:

  • Wear and tear at the base
  • Contamination of the steps (liquids or grease/oil)
  • Check the kickstep for any impact damage and bending
  • Check the floor of the area where the kickstep is to be used to ensure that there are no spills, obstacles or other potential hazards

When using a kickstep, it’s important that you take into account the clothing you’re wearing:

  • Shoes should be flat with a closed toe
  • Long or baggy trousers could be a potential hazard and should be avoided or secured
  • Long skirts represent a particular hazard when using a kickstep and care should be taken when alighting or descending

Another important point to consider when using a kickstep is that it’s crucial not to overreach and stretch. A kickstep is so easy to move along to a different position that it’s relatively easy to avoid stretching in this way.