Working at Heights - Step Ladders

Working at Heights - Step Ladders 

Short safety talk on working safely when working at heights using step ladders.

Author: Star Refrigeration


                                                                                                            Working at Heights - Step Ladders

Fold step ladders are an extremely convenient way of accessing work that is out of reach
However care must be taken to ensure that familiarity does not lead to carelessness.
The consequences of falling off a step ladder are no less serious than falling off an ordinary
ladder – the landing is just as painful!

Step Ladders are covered by the same regulations as ordinary ladders regarding construction
and materials. This is even more critical for Step Ladders because of the extra parts required
in their construction to make them foldable. 

Step Ladders are probably the most ‘borrowed’ item of all site equipment however if you do,
you must always check the condition very carefully because it is still your responsibility to
ensure your own safety. If there is any doubt – DO NOT USE.

Establishing a habit of checking off a mental list each time a pair of steps is used will help
you to work safely. 

Step Ladder Rules

o Steps must be suitable.  ‘Domestic’ lightweight steps are not normally suitable.

o Check the anti-spread device (cords, clips brackets etc).  If it’s defective it’s illegal!

o Check folding mechanism (hinges, pin, rivets, etc.)

o Report any defective Step Ladder immediately. Ensure that condemned Step Ladders are immediately labelled and taken out of commission.

o Always spread the ladder to its fullest extent, so that it can’t suddenly jerk while you are on it.

o Ensure that all four stiles are on firm, level ground. Using an unsteady step ladder is classed as an offence (Regulations 32.7)

o You must always have a secure handhold not less than 1.06m above the highest level reached by your feet.  Clearly this means you cannot stand on the top steps unless there is some other handhold, e.g. an extension.

o Place the ladder at right angles to the work so that twisting the body is not necessary.

o Visualise where the centre of gravity of you, any tools or materials, and the ladder, lies so that it stays within the base area of the ladder.

o An assistant standing on the bottom step lowers the centre of gravity very effectively; however make sure that the assistant knows not to step off suddenly.

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Last modified: Tuesday, 18 February 2014, 12:16 PM