Working on ladders can be a very hazardous task. In this post, we talk about ladder safety and share some tips on how to work using a ladder when it comes to roofs.
It's best to leave roof work to the professionals, but if at times you find yourself having to use a ladder to get a ball off the roof or to clear leaves from the gutter, here are our 5 top safety tips:
1) Consider your task
How high do you need to reach?
How much weight will the ladder need to hold?
What is the environment in which the ladder will be used? Are there any electrical lines overhead?
2) Consider your situation
Know your own capabilities. Be careful about climbing a ladder if you:
are alone and can’t get help
have a disability or medical condition
are taking medication.
3) Ladder Choice
Portable ladders are one of the least stable but most commonly used tools for working at heights. Unlike passive fall prevention devices (eg. scaffolding or guardrails), portable ladders typically require users to be more vigilant about the risk of falling when working at heights (Worksafe Victoria Guide, 2018/2019).
Make sure you choose a ladder that has high weight bearing, wide foot holds, well made and using a high-quality material.
4) Ladder Height
While some ladders can reach up to 6m in length, it’s best to keep at the 2 metre mark - as working from heights bigger than this can be very dangerous, you could end up with serious injuries.
5) Safe Use
Ladders should only be used for very light work where there is no danger of overreaching and the worker can steady him or herself at all times.
Don't work from the top rung of the ladder.
Don't lean a ladder on an unstable or slippery surface.
Ladders should only be set up on firm, flat surfaces.
Don't use a ladder if you are working in strong winds or rain.
Single and extension ladders should be fixed against movement or footed by another person. Don't use a ladder for unintended purposes, such as in place of scaffolding.
Don't use a ladder if you are affected by medication or if your age or medical condition can affect balance.