Using a Ladder for DIY - Don't let familiarity breed contempt

Using a Ladder for DIY - Don't let familiarity breed contempt

26th August 2014

DIY is a popular pastime here in the UK – we have budding crafts people honing their skills the length and breadth of Britain.  A massive 56% of the adult population engages in some kind of DIY activity or another, with many of those undertaking quite major projects on a regular basis.  This means that many of these DIY aficionados will consider a ladder to be an essential part of their DIY toolkit and some use ladders on a routine basis. 

We all know that familiarity breeds contempt and most of us who use tools of any kind become familiar with our tools.  We get accustomed to the feel and heft of the handles, we know what our tools are capable of and many of us will have much loved items that we’ve become fond of over the years.  I’m a keen gardener and I became emotionally attached to a scruffy old trowel that worked like magic for me.  I misplaced it so many times and have emptied rubbish bags bound for the recycling centre on many occasions to retrieve it.  However, when I finally lost it for good I was faced with the dilemma of finding a new fave trowel which involved hours of online research until I tracked down just the job – a stainless steel trowel with an ash handle from Draper.  It’s not quite the same but does the job for me.

Hanging on to our beloved tools is all well and good when they are performing well and are undamaged in any way.  There are tools and items of equipment that should be replaced regularly though and ladders come into this category.  A ladder needs to be inspected every time it is used, even mid-job when moving it along from one place to another.  Now – how many of you amateur painters and decorators check your ladder every time you shift it along?  Not many, I bet – you know your ladder like the back of your hand and probably just scamper up and down without giving it a second though – after all, it hasn’t failed you yet!  This is a recipe for disaster. 

You need to check your ladder every time you use it for signs of wear or damage, ladders can only last so long before they need to be replaced.  How long your ladder lasts will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • What the ladder is made from and its construction quality
  • What the ladder is used for
  • How often the ladder is used
  • How and where the ladder is stored when not in use
  • The weight that the ladder bears when used (this includes you as well as your tools and equipment)
  • Whether the ladder becomes contaminated in any way

Check out how to do a ladder safety check in one of our blog posts from earlier this year – it’s a quick read and may even save you from a nasty accident.