Ladders and Step Ladders

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Using Ladders Safely: Guidelines and Standards

Understanding Ladder Safety

There is a common misconception that ladders are banned, but they can be used safely if the right precautions are taken.

Common Causes of Ladder Accidents

Accidents often occur due to:

  • Failure to Secure: Not properly securing the ladder.
  • Unsuitable Base: Placing the ladder on an unstable surface.
  • Carrying Loads: Attempting to carry items while climbing.
  • Overreaching: Stretching too far, causing loss of balance.

Using Ladders Safely

When using ladders, follow these safety guidelines:

  • Short-Duration, Light Work: Use ladders for short-duration tasks that involve light work.
  • Consider Alternatives: Always explore alternative methods before resorting to ladders.
  • Choose the Right Type: Select the appropriate ladder for the specific job, considering height and environment.
  • Inspect Before Use: Ensure the ladder is in good condition, checking for missing feet, splits, damaged rungs, or dents.
  • Secure and Stable: Before climbing, confirm the ladder is stable and securely positioned.

EN131 Standards for Ladders

The EN131 standards classify ladders into:

  • Professional: Suitable for trade, light, or heavy industrial use.
  • Non-Professional: Intended for domestic use only.

The maximum load capacity for ladders and steps is now set at 150 kilograms under these standards.

Ensuring Safety Through Inspection

Prior to each use, inspect the ladder:

  • Label and Maintenance: Ensure the ladder is labelled as tested, maintained, and safe to use.
  • Non-Use Label: If the ladder fails inspection, clearly mark it with "Do Not Use" and quarantine it.

Following these guidelines ensures ladders are used safely and in compliance with standards, reducing the risk of accidents.