Step Ladder Safety In The Home

Step Ladder Safety In The Home

26th June 2014

Every single month more than a thousand people end up needing hospital treatment following an accident in the home that involves the use of a step ladder.   With several types of step ladder available it is essential to choose the right type for the task at hand.  All step ladders sold in the UK should meet the requisite British or European standards:

• BS 1129:1990 (British) applies to wooden ladders.
• BS 2037:1994 (British) applies to metal ladders.
• BS EN 131:1993 (European) applies to both.
• BS 7377:1994 (British) applies to step stools.

New step ladders should be marked with their safe working load capacity (duty rating) and you should ensure that this covers the weight of the user together with the weight of any tools being used on the ladder. 

Step ladders come in two types – single sided and double sided.  A single sided step ladder has rungs (or steps) on one side only; while a double sided step ladder has rungs on both sides.  The double sided step ladders are a popular choice as the user can climb the ladder from both sides, making this a versatile choice for the home.  Two people can use the ladder at the same time (one on each side) only if the manufacturer’s safe working load is not exceeded.

Before each use the step ladder should be checked to ensure that it is still in good condition and is not damaged in any way.  Check the condition of the stiles (uprights) and the steps to make sure they are not damaged and have good grip.  Check the top platform too as this is an integral part of the ladder.  You’ll also need to look at the hinge mechanism to make sure that the ladder can be locked open in the correct position for ultimate stability.

Check all of the rungs or treads of the ladder to ensure that they are in good clean condition and that they are not contaminated with anything that may cause you to slip and lose your footing.  If the treads are worn or bent at all, then the ladder is not safe to use and should be replaced.

Now take a look at the feet of the ladder - make sure they are in good condition and that the rubber feet are not missing or worn – this is essential as the feet of the ladder provide stability. 

When using a step ladder make sure that the feet are resting on a clean, even surface so that there is no risk of slipping.  Wear flat firm shoes or boots (never use a step ladder when wearing heels of any sort).  Make sure that the ladder is locked in the open position before climbing onto it and keep a firm grip of the step ladder at all times. 

Never overreach to get to parts that you can’t quite reach – if you can’t reach, it’s time to get down from the step ladder and move it along a little.