POSTED BY charlotte

Step Safely

Reach up. That’s it, as far as you can. If you can touch your ceiling whilst stood on the floor then feel free to ignore this post. But since most of us don’t live in Hobbit holes, or play part time for the Harlem Globetrotters, the ceiling is likely to be a foot or two away. To reach it, you’ll need stepladders.

But beware. Stepladders (and ladders) are involved in more workplace injuries and fatalities than any other piece of equipment. According to the HSE, there were 35 fatalities in the UK in 2008/9 as a result of falling from steps and ladders. A further (and startling) 4654 major injuries were recorded, in addition to 7065 more minor accidents. It all adds up to a lot of people taking a needless tumble.

If you’re wallpapering or painting this weekend, follow these tips to make sure you complete the job in one piece.

Before you climb the steps

  • Check they’re in good working order
  • Ensure the floor isn’t slippery
  • Clear the area around the stepladders. You don’t want to step back into a bucket of wallpaper paste
  • Place them on a flat surface. Don’t use them until you’ve removed the source of any wobble
  • Open the steps until they lock in place

When using

  • Ensure the stepladders are tall enough to allow you to reach without using the top two rungs or standing on tip-toes
  • Work facing the steps, never side-on
  • Don’t overreach! Keep both feet firmly on the same rung
  • Use for short durations. Standing on stepladders places extra stress on the legs and back. If the job’s a big one, plan your ceiling papering in 30 minute stretches with breaks in between

One final tip: once that wallpaper’s up, do make sure your feet are firmly back on the floor before you step back and admire your handiwork…