Four Common Mistakes When Using A Ladder (And How To Avoid Them)

Four Common Mistakes When Using A Ladder (And How To Avoid Them)
Four Common Mistakes When Using A Ladder (And How To Avoid Them) teaser

06 Nov 2017

It could be easily said that using a ladder isn’t rocket science. Just put it up and climb the steps. But, there is more to it than what you might think. A study published last year in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health found that each year roughly 5,000 people are hospitalised due to injuries sustained after falling off a ladder. The same study states that the trend is on the rise.

This set alarm bells ringing for us here at Backsafe Australia. We wanted to share how you can keep yourself and your employees safe when they need to use a ladder as part of their every day tasks. We’re sharing the four biggest safety mistakes you can make when using a ladder and how you can avoid them.

Mistake One – Unfit Ladders

Unfit ladders don't mean they’re not getting enough exercise, but it does mean they may not have been used for a while. They might have damage, including loose parts or loose rungs. It could be that they are covered in oil or paint, which affects the grip. They might be splintered if they are made of wood, or frayed if they are made of fibreglass.  Avoid any accidents caused by unfit and damaged ladder by inspecting that they are fit for purpose before use. Make sure the ladder is structurally sound and not overly worn.

faulty ladder

Mistake Two – Incorrect Ladder Placement

If you don’t have the right sized ladder, then don’t do the job. Trying to balance the ladder on another item to make it higher, or using any other inventive way of gaining extra height is heading for trouble. The ground that you are placing the ladder on needs to be firm, flat and level. You also need to make sure that whatever you are leaning the ladder against is firm, can take the weight and isn’t going to move. You can now buy ladders with extra safety features such as levelling feet or a spirit level indicator.

ladder placement

Mistake Three – Correct Usage

You need two people to use a ladder. One person needs to hold the ladder secure at the base and keep it steady whilst the other ascends the rungs. The second person also ensures that should an accident happen they can help. The person ascending the ladder needs to use two hands at all times. They should not be carrying or balancing any items whilst using the ladder. Whilst up the ladder it is important not to overreach. It is far safer to descend the ladder move it along to where you need to be and then re-ascend the ladder again. Don’t stand any higher than the fourth rung from the top.

Mistake Four – Wrong Type of Ladder

The materials that ladders are made from vary including aluminium, wood and fibreglass. If you are potentially working in a high voltage area then a fibreglass ladder is safer. If your ladder isn’t long enough, then don’t be tempted to step onto the top rungs or overreach. Change your ladder for one that fits the job, such as our platform ladders

ladder heightsturgo platform ladder

Above: Sturgo Aluminium Platform Ladder

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