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Stepping up when it comes to ladder safety

Working within the painting and decorating sector, more often than not there is a need for professionals to work at height. Here, Trevor Rabson, Training Manager at Werner, discusses the importance of choosing the correct equipment and how Werner is encouraging best practice amongst professionals when working at height, and championing safety through its new Ladder Safety Campaign.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), working at height still remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries, so keeping safe is vital when working at height. But how can this be achieved?

For painters and decorators, a ladder is an essential part of the tool kit and traditionally they may rely on one ladder solution for all manner of jobs. However, taking into account a few vital considerations can make all the difference when it comes to being safe, and staying safe, when working at height.

Recent research undertaken by Werner to determine working at height practices amongst professionals and non-professionals revealed that 48% of people worry about safety when working at height. With this in mind, it has unveiled its new safety campaign – Stepping up to Ladder Safety – to promote best practice when working at height, helping users feel more confident when using access equipment.

There are so many things that users should be aware of when it comes to choosing the correct working at height equipment, with this in mind, carrying out a risk assessment is a vital part of the planning for any job, no matter how small. As well as looking at the job location itself and any hazards that may be present, thinking about the type of equipment to choose also plays a major part when it comes to minimising risk and working safely. Factors to weigh up include the height of the task; the duration and frequency of the task; and the condition of the surface being worked on.

As part of Werner’s ‘Stepping up to Ladder Safety’ campaign, it has pulled together some handy tips on what painters and decorators should look for when it comes to choosing a ladder:

  • Somewhere to place your paint can is ideal when choosing what ladder to complete your project. This could be a platform stepladder or a ladder that allows for add-ons. This minimises the chance of spillage and makes the job easier
  • If you need to reach up high, then an extension ladder is the ideal tool for the job
  • Looking for a bit more space to move around? Then a work platform may be the right choice for you
  • For working on uneven surfaces such as stairs, then a multi-purpose ladder may be suitable
  • When it comes to choosing what material, aluminium ladders offer a lightweight solution, however if there is chance that you could be working by electrical sources, then a fibreglass option would be best

As part of its campaign, Werner has also created a series of guides covering topics such as how to use equipment safely as well as offering practical training courses.

By launching ‘Stepping up to Ladder Safety’ we hope to encourage users to think about whether they are using the right tools for the job and how they can safely use their equipment to prevent accidents occurring.

To access the guides online please visit

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