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Why Ladder Training Is Vital

Aug 28, 2008
The ladder is used for all manner of tasks and functions in a wide variety of industries and businesses. However ladder usage is some times carried out in a dangerous way posing a risk to workers and those in the immediate vicinity. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 have put in place certain legislation in order to improve the safety of those working on ladders whilst also ensuring that suitable training is undertaken before a ladder is used. Thankfully a large number of companies now conduct training courses in line with the regulations as well as the recommendations of the Ladder Association.

These training courses set out to give workers knowledge of how to use ladders safely and the legal policies relating to their usage. It helps workers to understand their own responsibilities and obligations while acknowledging the risks posed by ladder usage. Training should give workers an idea of the correct way to use ladders whilst enabling them to spot any defects with equipment and to store that equipment safely and securely.

Hopefully the following information will give an insight into these training courses and more specifically how they encourage the safe use of ladders. In general ladders are regarded to be high risk pieces of equipment in the workplace. In most cases, if carrying out lengthy jobs, a scaffolding platform or a piece of powered access machinery would be better suited to the purpose.

Most training courses will give trainees the essential information that should be included in a checklist before use. This is labelled as hazard identification and risk assessment and should always be performed before climbing a ladder. Firstly, it is always advisable to place barricades and warning signs around the equipment to ensure that all those in the surrounding area know somebody is working at height. Additionally, the angle of a ladder should be around 1:4, any more or less than this and the outfit can be dangerous. The equipment should always be placed upon a firm footing and in most cases should be secured both at the top and the bottom to ensure it does not slip. In terms of potential hazards, care should be taken to notice any electrical wiring or possible debris before erecting the outfit.

In terms of working on the ladder, adequate training will give workers essential knowledge. Knowing not to have more than one person working on the equipment at any one time is essential as multiple persons can make the outfit unsafe. As well as this, whenever ascending or descending the outfit workers should keep three points of contact with the rungs at all times, this means two hands and a foot or vice versa. The body should always be kept central to the equipment; leaning out is dangerous and can make the outfit unstable. When working on ladders near doorways, it is crucial to lock the door so no-one opens the door and knocks the ladder over. The last point is that heavy lifting should not be conducted from ladders; this will put strain on the body and usually break the three points of contact rule.

Hopefully this information has given workers the vital information on how to use ladders properly. Legally there are certain responsibilities of managers to ensure their workers only use ladders after suitable training. As a dangerous piece of equipment that can seriously injure, it is important to recognise the need for training and safety at all times.
About the Author
Regulatory compliance expert Thomas Pretty looks into the reasons why ladder training is an essential responsibility in many businesses.
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