If you have a DIY task that requires a ladder, it’s important to take the proper safety precautions. Even tasks that seem quick and easy can put you in a dangerous position if you aren’t using your ladder correctly. Here are four common mistakes that people make when using a ladder.

Working with old equipment

For many people, working at height is something that is a very occasional DIY task. It could be when you need to paint the house or clean the gutters, and it’s likely that you’ll have an old ladder stored somewhere that you get out when it’s needed. Unfortunately it’s commonplace for people to actually wear down their ladder – partly due to general use but also because it is not being stored in ideal conditions.

This can then lead to a problem that you’ll get out the ladder one day and it will be no longer suitable for use. So if you have one ladder that you use occasionally and that you have had for a long time you need to make sure that you thoroughly check over the ladder each time. Working at height can be very dangerous if your ladder is damaged or worn out. 

Not using the right ladder for the job

Remember that checking to make sure the ladder is not worn down is not the only thing that you need to consider. If you’ve just got the one ladder available it might be natural that you would use it for any kind of work at height that you need to carry out. But this can lead to the issue where you are using the wrong kind of ladder for the job.

It is always vital to use the correct ladder to stay safe. There are many different options available, including fibreglass ladders – perfect if you’re going to work near live electrical currents. Also be aware of the height that you need to reach. You should never be in a position where you need to have your feet on the top three rungs of the ladder. In this situation you should always opt for a taller ladder instead.

Working alone

Whenever you work at height you should have someone with you. This even goes for those tasks that you could easily do yourself. Working on a ladder comes with the natural risk that you could fall. Not only is this risk greater if you don’t have someone working with you, but it also means that there will no-one to raise the alarm if you get injured.

Always make sure that someone is available to supervise you as you work, even if they aren’t doing any work themselves, they can keep you safe.

Setting up the ladder incorrectly

You need to make sure that the ladder is set up correctly. Firstly, no matter what kind of ladder you’re working with, both feet need to be set on a stable surface at ground level. It also needs to be placed against a surface that it cannot slide down. Always opt to lean it against a flat surface rather than something jutting out, such as a window frame. You should follow the manufacturers’ guidelines for the setting up of your specific ladder.