You might think that step ladders are a perfectly safe piece of equipment to use but every year thousands of people are injured by falls and slips from this type of ladder. The vast majority of these injuries could be avoided if proper safety precautions were taken. Here are five key pieces of step ladder safety advice that are worth remembering if you want make use of your ladder while minimising the risk of injury.

Set up correctly

Step ladders are simple to set up and that often means that they are taken for granted. But it’s important to follow the correct procedure and put a little thought into the way you step up the steps, as doing this incorrectly can render all of the other advice irrelevant. Firstly you should only ever set up on a firm and level base, and ensure that all four feet are touching the ground.

Check the feet

Make sure that you check that the ladder has its four rubber feet still attached and in good condition. These are key stabilising features that ensure that you will be safe while you are up on the step ladder. The feet can be easily replaced so you should avoid using a ladder if they are missing or have become worn or damaged.

Ensure the bars are in good condition

Of course you need to inspect the condition of the step ladder before you use it. Pay careful attention to the rungs and the locking bars. If the rungs are damaged or loose it is a possibility that they will break when you are standing on them. Alternatively if the locking bars are bent, the ladder can be at risk of collapsing.

Make sure it is appropriate for the task

You also need to be sure that that the step ladder that you are using is appropriate for the task. Unfortunately many people who may only have access to one step ladder will attempt to use it for tasks that it’s not really suitable for. You should never overreach when you’re standing on the ladder – if it’s not tall enough you should use a different ladder rather than putting yourself in an unsafe position.

Store your ladder in the right conditions

You need to consider the storage of the ladder to ensure that it stays in excellent condition. It should be stared somewhere dry and away from anything that you potentially damage it – for example large vehicles or heavy objects resting against it. Keeping it in good conditions allows it to avoid deteriorating and will therefore be safer for longer.