Written on: 23/01/2006 by lofty1 (4 reviews written)
Enable users to reach parts of a building that could otherwise not be reached.
Can cause severe injury and death unless safe working practice is used.
Many users of ladders simply purchase and expect to be able to use them without any training or practice, not every body is able to stand height, let alone work safely on a ladder. Going up and down a ladder is drastically different to working from the ladder and extreme caution needs to be applied before considering doing so.
The ladder is made up of two major parts, the strings and the rounds, the strings are the two outside, sections running from the bottom to the top. The rounds are the cross pieces that are used to climb the ladder and should also be used for the hands.
When ascending the ladder one should place either left or right foot on the bottom round and then taking a natural stance place the hand which is on the same side as the foot used, place that hand on a round level with the arm when held straight out from the body. So we now have left foot on the bottom round and the left hand on the round, which is most convenient to shoulder level. When then ascend the ladder moving both hand and foot together, left hand left foot right hand right foot, this action is natural to the body and there is no twisting of the body and we ascend, if alternant hands and feet the body is forced twist at every movement. By holding the rounds with the thumbs raped under the rounds, should you miss you footing you can stop yourself from falling by gripping with your hands giving you a chance to get your foot/feet back on the ladder. If your hands are on the strings they slid and there is no way you could stop your fall, this problem is even more pronounce on metal ladders when used in wet conditions
Sitting the ladder
The foot of the ladder should be sited on firm ground or hard standing, with the base of the ladder being approx one third of the working height away from the building.
Working height 21.0 feet, place the base of the ladder approx 7'0 approx from the building this will provide a safe working angle for the ladder.
Working from a ladder.
In any situation it is wise to get another adult person to 'foot the ladder' this means precisely what is said the responsible person places one foot on the bottom round and places both their hands on the string s at a convenient height to the body, Their other foot is kept firmly on the ground they taking a bracing stance which tends to take any bounce out of the ladder as the person on the ladder ascends, the person footing the ladder should remain in all circumstances while the other person is on the ladder, this action prevents the ladder slipping which with out doubt cause the person on the ladder to fall.
Having now got the ladder properly footed we can ascend.
Having safely acceded the ladder and reached the height at which we wish to work go two rounds above then place a leg nearest to the side you wish to work through the square formed by the strings and the rounds (above and below your knee level) now using both hands support yourself and lower your position so as to be able to bend the leg placed through the ladder then hook you foot back through a convenient round, you have now taken what in the British Fire Service is called a 'leg lock', this will enable you to balance, use your hands and yet be secured to the ladder, the moor you grip with your foot the more secure you will feel on the ladder in this position you cannot fall. When you wish to come down using you hands pull your self up the ladder withdraw your leg from between the rounds and descend in the normal way, using left hand left foot etc, use every round and do not try to tackle two rounds at a time. Do not leave a fully extended ladder unattended, the wind can easily dislodge them from their pitched position and they can kill as well as do a untold damage.
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