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How to work safely at height - Ladders and Stepladders

Skill Level: Beginner

Introduction

Every year thousands of people are hurt while tackling jobs around the home and garden. If there are sharp tools involved in the project, then cuts will be one of the most likely injuries encountered. If you are working at height then a fall is the biggest danger, but falls very often cannot be put right with a simple sticking plaster. Falls from even the lowest heights can prove serious, and may take weeks or even months to recover from, and it could be worse!

 
The problem is you need your hands to hold stuff and do things with when you’re up a height, so can’t use them for holding on purposes. When working at height you must be safe: as safe as you can possibly make it. Don’t take chances and hang from sky hooks, get the proper gear!
 
As with many things, it’s a question of horses for courses; you don’t need scaffolding to change a light bulb, or fit a new curtain rail (generally) indoors, a simple mini step-up ladder might do, what its designed for, but think about tackling the outdoor window frames, and we could be talking about quite serious heights, with quite serious risk! So you’ve got to do things right…and that means using the right tools for the job.

 

Ladders and stepladders

Fortunately, these days, the range of ladders and stepladders is huge. There seems to be a ladder or set of step ladders for just about every situation, no longer is it a case of do and make do. Today ladders and stepladders are super light, super strong, and super rigid and stable. In may cases there will be attachment work trays available for extra comfort and safety whilst working at height.

Working at height outdoors

Always use a ladder that is suitable for the height, at which you are working, a ladder should extend to at least three rungs beyond the height you’re working at.
 
When using a ladder to work at height it is always preferable to have someone stand and foot the ladders for you where possible. Failing that you need to make everything as secure and stable as possible by other means.
 
Many people find it advantageous to have a couple of discreet ring bolts affixed to the fascia boards, for periodic painting and home maintenance purposes. It may be you can peg down the foot of the ladder with rope, to some adjacent soft ground.
Alternatively, try a Ladder Mat. This is a handy inexpensive safety accessory to prevent ladders slipping on uneven, soft, smooth or sloping grounds. Or, try a ladder stopper. The ladder stopper acts as ladder stability device by preventing ladders either slipping or pivoting on one stile.
The ladder mat is a heavy-duty aluminium T shaped base plate covered with heavy-duty rubber covering. The stopper grips the ground securely; the T shaped plate holds the ladder in place; ideal for the single ladder user, as a second person is not required to foot the ladder.

Ladder stabilising adjustable safety legs

Stabiliser adjustable safety legs are an important stability device for ladders and steps which bolts safely onto the side of any box section ladder and use a simple and safe twist to lock mechanism and have self-levelling feet for uneven surfaces. The easy to use, retro-fitting safety device with the legs clamp flush to the stile when not in use - requires virtually no extra storage space.

Stepladders and other accessories to give you a bit of a lift

Step ladders have come a long way since their original inception. Look to any good hardware supplier and he should be able to offer you something to suit your exact needs. Here you’ll find everything from one tread step-ups, to elaborate combination set ups that you leave you hands free, and a work tray for good measure. The better quality stepladders will come with extra wide treads and extra large standing platform with added grip for safety, some with the added feature of two side rails with two safety grips at the top so you get a secure balance.
 
Remember! If you’re hanging and leaning out from a ladder whilst working, you’re risking its stability and your safety! Don’t overstretch…get down and move the ladder along a bit. It may be a nuisance, but stop and think a moment.

Tools you will need:
Zarges Aluminium 5 Rung Platform Steps
Zarges Aluminium 5 Rung Platform Steps
- Zarges  4 x 6 Rungs Telescopic Industrial Ladder
Zarges 4 x 6 Rungs Telescopic Industrial Ladder
- Zarges Fibreglass Swingback Steps 6 Rungs
Zarges Fibreglass Swingback Steps 6 Rungs
- Zarges Professional Platform Steps 6 Rungs
Zarges Professional Platform Steps 6 Rungs
- Zarges Laddermat
Zarges Laddermat
- Zarges Industrial Extension Ladder 2-Part D Rung 2 x 8
Zarges Industrial Extension Ladder 2-Part D Rung 2 x 8
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