10 ladder safety tips to keep you safe while working at height
- Author Rayleigh Gutters
- Published January 27, 2024
- Word count 575
10 ladder safety tips when cleaning gutters
Clogged gutters can lead to a host of problems, from water damage to foundation issues. But before you grab a ladder and start scooping leaves, take a moment to prioritise safety. Gutter cleaning and repairs can be risky, especially if you're not ladder-savvy. Here are some essential ladder safety tips to help you climb smart and stay safe while tackling those clogged gutters:
Select the correct sized ladder for the property you're working on. If you have a ladder that is too short you're going to be tempted to stretch, this is one of the leading causes of ladder accidents
Inspect your ladder before you start work. The ladder will have rungs, these are what you stand on. Check that none are bent or missing, as these are what give the ladder it's strength
When extending the ladder make sure you have it positioned correctly at the right angle. This is the 1:4 rule. Meaning your ladder should come out 1 unit for every 4 units up. For example if your ladder is extended 4 meters up, it should come out around 1 meter
3 points of contact. When climbing any ladder always ensure you have 3 points of contact with the ladder. This can be 2 feet and 1 hand or when climbing 1 foot and 2 hands as you make your way up to the required height
Make sure the ladder is level. Sometimes the ground you are working on will be uneven, meaning the ladder is going to be uneven. Never climb a ladder like this. Use a ladder levelling mat. This will sit under the foot of the ladder to even up the height. Don't be tempted to use an off cut of wood, as these can slip and aren't stable
Never use the top three rungs of a ladder as steps. The top rungs of a ladder are not there to be stepped on, doing so can cause the ladder to slip out below
Use an anti slip device. If you have to put your ladder on a slippery surface like decking then ensure the ladder has an anti slip device attached to it. Additionally have someone with you to stand at the base of the ladder too. This will prevent the ladder from slipping while you work on it
Keep work to short durations. When you're cleaning gutters it can be time consuming. Make sure to take regular breaks and keep the time up a ladder limited to 30 minutes at a time
Never rest your ladder against the gutter. The gutter will be made of upvc and isn't designed to have the ladders resting against it. The ladder can potentially slip sideways and you can break the guttering. Instead use a correct ladder stand off, this connects to the top of the ladder and keeps the ladder away from the gutter but close enough so you can still access them to clear them out.
Use suitable shoes or boots. When you're climbing a ladder footwear is important. The last thing you want is footwear with no grip. Ladders can be slippery if wet, so good footwear will keep you safe while you're climbing or standing on a ladder
Following these 10 simple ladder safety tips will greatly reduce the risk associated to using ladders to clean out gutters or repair or replace your guttering. Remember to always be ladder safe when attempting any gutter work. Having the correct tools for cleaning gutters is also essential.
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