Here at Metro Rod we take our health and safety very seriously. Ladders and stepladders are not banned under health and safety law. In fact, they can be a sensible and practical option for low-risk, short-duration tasks.
They are used both at home and at work, and because they are so commonly used ‘everybody thinks that they know how to use a ladder and they don’t and that’s when accidents happen.’
Before starting a task, you should always carry out a ‘pre-use’ check spot. Any obvious visual defects to make sure the ladder is safe to use.
HSE say a pre-use check should be carried out:
- By the user;
- At the beginning of the working day;
- After something has changed, for example a ladder has been dropped or moved from a dirty area to a clean area (check the state or condition of the feet).
Check the stiles – make sure they are not bent of damaged, as the ladder could buckle or collapse.
Check the feet – if they are missing, worn or damaged the ladder could slip. Also check ladder feet when moving from soft/dirty ground (e.g. dug soil, loose sand/stone, a dirty workshop) to a smooth, solid surface (e.g. paving slabs), to make sure the foot material and not the dirt (e.g. soil, chippings or embedded stones) is contact with the ground.
Check the rungs – if they are bent, worn, missing or loose the ladder could fail.
Check any locking mechanisms – if they are bent or the fixings are worn or damaged the ladder could collapse. Ensure any locking bars are engaged.
Check the stepladder platform – if it split or buckled the ladder could become unstable or collapse.
Check the steps or treads on stepladders – if they are contaminated they could be slippery; if the fixings are loose on steps, they could collapse.
If you spot any of the above defects, don’t use the larder and notify your employer.