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Chapter 16 LADDER SAFETY


I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that everyone associates ladders with accidents - the cartoons and farces illustrate this again and again. However every year there are people killed and maimed from ladder use and mis-use. Ladders are used in many places around the Sportsground buildings, fences, trees as well as erecting signs.

The safety in the use of ladders comes under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992. This means we must consider the ladder as a piece of work equipment and follow the protocol required - including risk assessment.

The first questions to ask are :

Ladders are an excellent piece of equipment to reach a point source. They are not suitable for anything which requires reach outwith normal arm reach - if you have to stretch you should not be on the ladder!! Scaffolding and trestles are for such work.

There are several different types of ladder each suited to a particular purpose. Ladders can be made of aluminium or wood. Ladders can be single or extension (double or triple) or step ladders.

When buying a ladder please consider what it is used for - there is a coding system

At work, we must always use either Class 1 or 2. In a work situation, Class 3 are not to be used.

Many of the problems of use of a ladder can be easily addressed by good management. Ladders must reach a minimum standard of safety - go through this checklist and confirm that your ladder complies:


INSPECTION OF LADDER

In addition for step ladders stepladders


CARRYING

Ladders can be carried in basically two ways

One individual carrying it horizontally is the subject of cartoons!!!


ERECTING

There are two methods of erecting - the choice depends on the circumstances - work, ladder and individual.

Two people lay the ladder on the ground with the 'foot' of the ladder at the place where it is expected to be when erected. One person places his feet at the base of the stiles - the other person places himself at the head, raises the ladder above his head, and walks the ladder, using the rungs, until upright, then pushes the ladder over onto the wall or fixture.

For short ladders,this can be carried out by one person if he uses the base of the wall or fixture to act as a firm base

Extension ladders with long sections are raised as above and then are raised one section at a time and slotted into position - remember there must be an overlap on extension ladders - 2 to 4 rungs depending on length.


STORAGE

When you are finished with your ladder, put it back where it belongs. Always keep your ladder clean and free of excess material. Store it in a safe and dry place, out of direct exposure to the sun and the elements. Treat wood ladders periodically with a clear preservative such as clear varnish or linseed oil. Never paint a ladder as this will hide defects and deterioration.

When stored horizontally, support both ends and also in-between points to keep the middle from sagging, and perhaps loosening the rungs or cleats and warping the rails

If a ladder is set aside because of damage, or because it is unsafe, it should be labelled. The label should read "DO NOT USE, This ladder is damaged and unsafe." Better still, fix it or replace it.


Safe Working Practice

ALL OPERATORS USING LADDERS

The purpose of this guide is to highlight safe working practices for the use of ladders - IT MUST NOT BE TREATED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING - All persons engaged in the use of ladders must receive appropriate training

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT


BEFORE USE


DURING USE


AFTER USE

YOUR EMPLOYER PLACES GREAT IMPORTANCE ON EVERYONE'S SAFETY :

FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE MAY RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION


Lastly, I would like to consider First aid. If a person falls from a ladder, they could have multiple injuries, including damaged spine or broken pelvis - do not move unless the person is in immediate danger - Get help - bring the ambulance to them - stay with the victim and maintain the ABC - do not place them in the recovery position.

As you see from the above, it is important that proper thought is taken before ladders are used - it is essential that you instruct your staff on the safe use and actions to be taken when using ladders - people have died from falling 2 metres from a ladder!!!!


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