straight forward health and safty advice
Step ladders must only be used for short duration activities – a working
platform is the preferred method for working at a height.
Where the work at height assessment indicates that a step ladder is the best choice, then before
using it, check it to make sure that it has no defects and that it is tall enough for the job.
Regularly inspect step ladders and keep them maintained – with wooden steps look out for
damaged stiles and cracked or missing rungs. Make sure that it is suitable for heavy use. Ladders
that are designed for light domestic use, must not be used for general work. Metal step ladders
should not be used when carrying out work on electrical circuits or
Step ladders require careful use, as they are not designed for any degree
of side loading, so avoid heavy and awkward tasks. Do not erect a step
ladder on a sloping surface, a movable object, an unstable surface or in
front of a door that may be opened.
Always use them at right angles to the work, with the styles fully extended
and don't overreach. Do not use the top step unless it has been designed
for that purpose and has a wider platform and grab rail. When working on a
step ladder follow these simple rules:
make sure that it is on a firm level base;
check that the work can be reached without stretching;
carry any tools that are needed in a shoulder bag or holster;
make sure that a good handhold is available;
always keep three points of contact with the ladder;
only use it for a maximum of 15 to 30 minutes at a time.
Podium steps offer a safer alternative to step ladders; as they have a wider base, and a rigid
stable working platform with barriers to prevent falls. They also allow work to be done in any
direction, and two handed. They are usually made from aluminium and have a ‘snap click’, or fold
out assembly, with slide-in handrails that provide a four-sided ‘cage’ to work in.