Ladders and Step Ladders

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3 min 9 sec
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Let us now look at the use of ladders. Many people believe that ladders are banned, but in truth, this is not the case. Having said that however, you need to make sure you are using the right ladder for the job. Let us look at what often causes accidents when using ladders. One is a failure to secure it, placing it an unsuitable base, climbing a ladder while carrying loads, or overreaching and overbalancing. So while ladders are not banned, they do have to be used safely.

What do we mean by safely? Well, it is recommended that working on a ladder should only be short-duration, light work. We should only use them if they are really necessary but always think of alternatives first. Using ladders should be a last resort.
There is quite a range of ladders, from what is known as short extension ladders, right up to a ten and a half metre ladder, roof ladders, telescopic ladders, even ladders designed for working near and around electrical cables. So it is important that we check that the ladder is the right one for the right job. Next we need to inspect the ladder to ensure it is safe. One of the most common problems that can be found with ladder are the fact that the feet are missing, which means that there is a far greater chance of the ladder slipping and an accident occuring. It could be that there is a split in the platform, it could be some of the rungs are missing or even a dent in the ladder. These would all be failures; so the ladder should not be used.

In summary, use the right ladder, check it, make sure it is secure and stable, and then use it safely.

The EN131 standards have changed to bring them in line with other European Countries and to make it easier to distinguish both suitability of both ladders and steps for different uses. To achieve this there are no longer different classes assigned to ladders based on whether they are for domestic or heavy-duty or industrial use, there are simply two categories under EN131 called Professional and Non-Professional.

The EN131 Professional classification is for trade and light or heavy industrial use, so really for any use in the workplace. The EN131 Non-professional classification applies to ladders that are only for domestic use.

The maximum load capacity of ladders and steps has also changed with the maximum capacity set at 150 kilos. Before using a ladder remember to inspect it first, to ensure it is both undamaged and we can be able to use it correctly. It is important that our ladders are actually labelled up showing it has been tested, it has had its maintenance done, and that ladder inspection tag says it is safe to use. If it fails any of those tests, then another label should be added, "Do Not Use". This should be fixed to the ladder. If it is deemed unsafe, ideally, it should be quarantined and locked up to make sure nobody can use it from then on.