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Ladder Safety | 5 Tips to stay safe on ladders

Ladders can be dangerous in both the workplace and at home. Falling from a ladder is one of the most common causes of injury, which is why ladder safety is important. Below are a few key safety things to remember when using ladders.

Check the ladder for damage before use

You should always check that the ladder isn't damaged before you use it. Damage such as warping, rust, or damage to rungs increase the likelihood of a ladder failing suddenly. If ladder is damaged do not use it!

Checking the ladder for dirt, or anything that could make the ladder unstable when using is also good practice. Caked on dirt or mud on the feet can cause the ladder to be unstable when setup. Dirt and/or wear on the rungs (steps) can sometimes cause them to become slippery.

3 points of contact

When climbing you want to make sure you always have 3 points of contact with the ladder. Two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.

Do not overload ladder

Check the load rating of the ladder, and do not exceed this rating. Overloading the ladder or putting more weight on the ladder than what the manufacturer has specified can cause it to suddenly collapse. Don’t forget to include the weight of any tools or materials you will be carrying up the ladder with you.

If carrying tools, it’s always best for these to be attached to a belt, as opposed to being carried in your hand. This is especially important if there is a risk of tolls falling and injuring people working at ground level.

Do no use a ladder on uneven ground

Only use ladder on firm and level ground. This ensures the ladder remains stable and doesn't fall over while you are using it. If available use safety devices that are available, for instance, anti-slip gutter guards, stabilisers, and leg levellers.

The 4 to 1 rule for extension ladders

Extension ladders should be positioned so that there is a 4 to 1 ratio between the height where the ladder touches the wall and the distance from the wall that the ladder touches the ground. So if the ladder touches the wall 4 meters high, then it should touch the ground 1 meter away from the wall.

This is the ideal ratio for using these kinds of ladders and is the safest position for using it.

Get appropriate training

Tips are great, and are always a good place to start, but nothing beats formal training. The final tip we recommend for ladder safety is training in working at heights. The working at heights course covers ladder safety in much more detail, as well as many other tools, and pieces of safety equipment that can be used when you need to do any sort of job that involves working at heights. Stay safe on ladders, and get in touch with 123 Training Solutions if we can help with training.