We’ve all seen those “what could go wrong” jokes circulating on social media where a worker is standing on a makeshift ladder. And you know it’ll take just one wrong move for them to go tumbling to the ground. We bet you want to avoid becoming the star of one of those videos, right?
Using the proper roof ladder when you or your work crews are working up high is crucial. This ensures the safety of the person doing the job as well as the people on the ground.
How Important is Ladder Safety?
On average, 25 Australians are injured in falling from roofs every year. Many workers also sustain severe back injuries due to using unsafe objects to climb or lean on when working on high areas. Other workers working below may also get injured when the unstable object falls down. One important factor here is to choose the correct ladder for the required job.
The Right Ladder for the Job
Australian Workplace Safety requires fall protection equipment for anyone working at a height of two meters or higher. There are a number of ladders available for different types of work at varying heights. Some roof top work may require cage ladders while other work may only need a simple step ladder.
Let’s have a look at the types of ladders available for different jobs that will ensure ladder safety:
Caged ladders refer to the type of ladder that has a cage built around it. The main purpose of the cage is to provide the climber with some sort of protection in the event of a slip while climbing. Caged ladders give workers added security when climbing heights of up to 6.0m.
Caged Platform Ladders
If the work that needs to be done is higher than 6.0m then a simple caged ladder is no longer protection enough. This is where caged platform ladder systems come into place. These types of ladders have a rest platform together with the cage. The platform is an added safety feature for the worker. These ladders can be used up to 12m from the ground.
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Step Ladders and Bridges
When it comes to industrial construction, the most suited ladders are step ladders with bridges. That means a small platform has stairs and railings on both sides. These types of ladders are found all over construction and industrial sites as it’s handy for workers to keep tools on.
Pull Down Ladders
Pull down ladders come in different sizes and are primarily used for safe access to roof hatches. These types of ladders prevent damage to paint work inside homes.
Mini Access Ladders
These types of ladders are often used by workers to get from one roof top to another. They can be used for a distance of 3.4m and also come with grab rails.
Fall Arrest Ladders with Vertical Fall Arrest Cables
Some jobs are too impractical to use caged ladders. The type of job or space may not allow for it. In this case, vertical fall arrest systems are used to increase workers’ safety. Vertical fall arrest cables keep the worker secured to the ladder. These types of ladders can be used for up to 12m.
What Safety Protocols Should be in Place for Ladders?
Using a ladder is one thing. Ensuring that the ladder you use is made of the right materials is a totally different matter. When choosing the right ladder for the job, ensure the following is in place:
- Ladders should be corrosion resistant
- Installation and use should be easy
- A roof access ladder should be made of high grade aluminium to guarantee sturdiness
- Some roof ladders have extra features like lockable doors and gates
- Any roof ladder should have rungs that are manufactured with safety grips to increase stability
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Ladder
There are a few factors to consider when choosing the right ladder for roof access. They include the following:
- Always use a ladder for work on high areas. Don’t resort to using chairs, big containers or other makeshift stepping objects.
- Discuss the right type of ladder you need with a roof ladder expert. They’ll be able to advise you on the ladder for the job.
- Consider the height you need. This includes the maximum reach as well. Take the height of the worker who will work on the ladder into consideration. If you use an extension ladder it shouldn’t be more than 10 feet longer than the highest contact point.
- Ensure the ladder you’ll be using can hold the weight of the worker who’ll be using it. This is referred to as the duty rating.
- The type of work should also be taken into account.
With such a big variety of ladders available, there should be no reason for you or your workers to be unsafe. By planning your work in advance you’ll be able to determine what type and size ladders you’ll need for the job at hand. This way no one will get hurt and the job will be done correctly! Make sure your brand goes viral for the right reasons!