Safe Ladder Practices

Safe Ladder Practices

Safe ladder practices are important when cleaning out your gutters. Most households will own a portable ladder for easy access to the roof.

The potential for injury on a portable ladder is significant. Ideally, using scaffolding or elevated work platform would be best when cleaning your gutters. However, we understand that the humble, portable ladder is a staple in the home, so we’ve put together a list of safe ladder practices to ensure that a simple household chore like gutter cleaning doesn’t cause you harm.

Safe ladder practices for cleaning gutters

  • Portable ladders shouldn’t be used for working at heights above 6 meters.

If you live in a two story house, or a place with a high roof, think about investing in a scaffolding system or even an industrial ladder. Industrial ladders must comply with industry standards, are stronger and able to balance better.

  • Portable ladders must be supported at the base and sitting on a stable surface.

We recommend a concrete surface as pavement or soil can be uneven.  If you must balance your ladder on an uneven surface, prop it up with a sturdy support such as a plank for stability.

  • If you are using the extension function to clean gutters higher on your roof, ensure that both the top and the bottom of the ladder are secured.
  • Avoid using ladders in wet or windy conditions, unless control measures account for these conditions.
  • Don’t erect your portable ladder on a slippery or wet surface.
  • To ensure your ladder won’t move, all metal ladders should feature rubber, non-slip feet.
  • Make sure you there are no power lines close to the gutters you are cleaning, particularly if you are on a metal ladder as it will be a conductor.
  • When erecting the ladder, make sure it is a good distance from any hazards such as sharp objects, machinery or chemicals, should your ladder fall.
  • Never erect your ladder on balconies and other raised surfaces.
  • Don’t lean your ladder against your gutter.

Instead, rest it on  the wall underneath the guttering. Guttering is not strong enough to safely support your ladder and could break. 

For more information on how to use your portable ladder safely, or if you are unsure of whether your ladder is safe enough to be using, visit workcover or contact us.