Working On Ladders – Wear The Right Gear

Working On Ladders – Wear The Right Gear

12th June 2014

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) generally investigate accidents and incidents that involve injuries at work in order to ascertain whether or not the accident could have been avoided.  If not, then the HSE will look at ways in which to make that type of task safer in the future to avoid a recurrence of that type of accident.  During the investigation, it is often found that the incident could have been avoided if the correct safety procedures and practices had been followed.   This means that many accidents are the result of neglect or human error and no amount of safety equipment can keep us safe from ourselves.

Safety procedures are designed in order to avoid accidents and injuries and they are the tools we should be using in order to ensure our safety.  Whether you’re an employer responsible for the safety of your work force, a self-employed contractor or an employee, you do have a certain degree of responsibility.  An employer is responsible for making sure that all employees have the correct equipment that they need in order to carry out a task effectively and safely.  If you’re an employee, or if you’re self employed, then you have a responsibility to yourself to ensure that you have the correct equipment in order to carry out tasks safely.

When working at height or working on ladders, sensible clothing and footwear is essential to ensuring safety.  Work clothing needs to be well fitting and made of durable fabrics.  Any torn clothing or dangling straps, belts, etc represent a risk to health and safety.  Loose fabric can easily get caught in machinery or caught underfoot when climbing ladders – this means that damaged work clothing will need to be replaced immediately. If a tool belt is needed for the job, this is another piece of equipment that needs to fit well with no dangling straps or broken loops.

Footwear for work needs to feature non slip soles to ensure that you’re safe from slips and falls at all times.  Whatever type of surface you’re working on, making sure your shoes or boots have rugged soles and steel toe-caps can go a long way towards protecting your feet from harm.  Long laces should be avoided wherever possible as dangling laces can cause trips and falls – if possible try to choose shoes or boots with Velcro, zip or buckle closures in order to avoid the risk of long laces.  Climbing a ladder with dangling boot laces is a recipe for disaster – if your boots have laces, make sure you tie them with a double knot in order to avoid the risk.

Work clothing and footwear should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that every item is in good working order.  If straps are dangling or torn, they will need to be repaired or the item replaced – torn pockets should be sewn up to prevent them from flapping.  Loose soles on shoes and boots should be repaired (or the footwear replaced) – frayed laces should be replaced.

Regular checks and maintenance on work footwear and clothing is just as important from a health and safety point of view as regular safety checks on ladders.