A 5 step ladder check for optimal safety before climbing
You might have seen our recent crazy ladders photo (above) and okay, we like a laugh, but here at BRM we take the ladder safety along with all health and safety for our customers very seriously. We know that roofing is a dangerous profession and that falls from height remains the biggest cause of life-changing injuries and death at work. Even in the perfect weather and working conditions, working at height on steep slopes are routine risks for a professional roofer. And, more often than not, thanks to our wonderful weather, wind and rain can quickly change a job from risky to downright dangerous.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommend ladder use is best avoided wherever possible by doing as much work as you can from scaffold, or better still the ground. Shockingly, statistics state that in 2018/19, 40 people in the UK left home for work and never returned following a fall from height. We’ve the utmost respect for our roofing customers, who know what they are doing when it comes to working at height, the correct way to use ladders and how to safely maintain their equipment. However, as everyone gets back to work this Autumn we remind everyone to check the ladders for optimal safety before climbing.
5 key things to check on every ladder:
- Steps and rails – make sure nothing is worn or bent and check each one for looseness, cracks, missing screws or bolts.
- Material – check there’s no corrosion like rusting or loose parts, etc.
- Hardware - ensure shoes, clamps etc. are all secure.
- Labels - not only should you be checking they are there - the labels contain essential user information like load capacity and directions for climbing for compliance. You also need to check your ladder meet the new (or previous) EN 131 standard or BS 1129 and BS 2037 standards.
- Overall cleanliness – remove any dirt that could be hiding potential problems.
If any of the above are not sound the ladder is not fit for purpose and should be removed and replaced.
Talking of purpose, it’s important to mention that the ladders used in roofing are designed with unique purposes in mind. They have different constructions, along with accessories that require different safety measures to make them more safe and secure. Employers have a duty to ensure their employees are using the right type of equipment for working at height.
Choose the right ladder type for the task from our online range:
- Extension Ladders, Double ladder, triple ladder with accessories including adjustable ladder legs, ladder stoppers, ladder stafety stand off brackets, ladder clamps and shoes
- Telescopic ladders
- Roof ladders – single section, extendable with ridge hook and wheels.
- Fall Protection Ladders
The importance of training new staff in ladder safety and taking the time before each use to check equipment really does save lives. Whilst roofers face many hazards at work that can’t be controlled, a commitment to safety is one thing you can ensure.
The Ladder Association offers approved ladder training and information on the new EN131 ladder standards, along with free guides you can download here.
If you need any further advice on the ladders we supply please do contact us. Our experienced staff are here to help.