Working at height is an activity that will always include an element of risk. So in order to remove, or at least reduce, that risk, certain protocol needs to be adhered to. The statistics pretty much speak for themselves, on average, 15 people die from falling off ladders in Britain each year. Around 1,200 suffer from serious injuries and about 25% of falling from height accidents occurs from ladders. If you are thinking of working with ladders in the near future, you should speak to your health & safety officer and ask about the available training courses that deal with both ladder safety training and working at height mandatory regulations.
One of the problems with using a ladder in the workplace is that many of us feel comfortable and familiar with these elevated tools. By failing to pay attention to the myriad of risks and dangers of working from height, thousands of workers have paid the price in a very painful way. The basic safety awareness issues are fairly easy to understand and follow and these should be addressed before getting involved with the working at height training courses that are required for anyone who will be working at height. If you think of the ladder as a very large tool and start understanding that you need to respect and follow a set of safety measures, you can begin to learn about the ways of working with one. Before you even think about climbing on the ladder, you need to carry out a visual inspection. Any loose or missing parts will mean that the ladder should not be used for your activity. You should also check to see if the ladder is of sufficient size to perform the task in hand.
Choosing the Right Ladder
You should always endeavour to select the correct ladder for the task in hand. First you need to consider the working environment and pick the ladder type based on these factors. If you are working around electricity, always choose a wood or fibreglass option. Aluminium is a great choice when you are working in a power free zone because its lightweight construction makes it easy to manoeuvre. Always ensure that your ladder is long enough to reach the target area and avoid using ladders that are too long also.
If your job requires you to work at height from a ladder, it is essential that you receive the correct ladder safety training. As we mentioned before, falling from height is a very serious problem in the industrial workplace and more than a quarter of those accidents involve a ladder. Speak to your employer about arranging a suitable safe working at height training course for yourself and your fellow employees. This training will empower you to recognise both the dangers and safety measure that are related to working from height. If your employer is not aware of these regulations, ask him or her to contact the HSE for some knowledge sharing on this matter.