With the wintery blast of cold weather currently covering most parts of the UK, it is vital to consider additional safety measures when working outside in cold temperatures. In Cardiff overnight, the temperature dropped to -2C degrees.
Winter weather can be a hazard when working around a ladder; without the proper precautions, you’re putting yourself in harm’s way. Snow and ice create slippery and uneven surfaces, making it difficult to stand your ground or maintain balance. To keep yourself safe, taking extra precautions when working with ladders outside in wintery conditions is essential. Here are five tips for staying safe while working with ladders outdoors in winter:
Monitor the Weather: Before beginning any work outside, it’s important to monitor the weather conditions so that you can plan accordingly. Check for wind speed, temperature, and precipitation to know what kind of environment you’ll deal with. That way, you can ensure everything is set up correctly, and nothing unexpected happens during the job.
Wear Appropriate Gear: Wearing appropriate clothing and gear is essential when working outdoors in colder temperatures. Ensure you wear insulated boots or work shoes to prevent slipping on icy surfaces, and wear layers of winter clothing, including hats, gloves, coats, and even insulated trousers. Also, ensure you wear hi-viz clothing so others can easily see you.
Set Up Safely: Ensure you correctly secure your ladder before using it by using a Ladder Base or similar accessory. Tieing off the ladder using ratchet straps or ladder levellers will further stabilise the ladder. Also, be aware of other potential hazards like power lines or tree branches nearby when setting up your ladder – these could pose an additional danger if not considered.
Take Breaks: Working outside in cold temperatures can use more energy than usual due to increased physical effort. Plus, the extra effort to move while wearing additional layers will weigh you further. Taking regular breaks throughout the job will help! Find somewhere warm to rest so you don’t get overworked from exposure to cold temperatures for too long. Frequent breaks help keep you alert during the task and reduce the chance of accidents or injury.
Use Caution When Climbing: If your boots are covered with ice and snow, climbing the ladder’s rungs is even more unstable. Bear this in mind! Take slow steps with both feet firmly planted on each rung before shifting weight onto the next. GRP Fibreglass ladders, like the Little Giant HyperLite, are easier to work with in cold weather than aluminium ladders because they are not so cold to touch. Avoid overreaching. Keep your belt buckle between the ladder stiles – otherwise, you can lose your balance and fall.
Overall, it’s important to prepare yourself and your work site before starting any work outdoors in wintery weather conditions – these five tips should help keep you safe while working around ladders and steps this winter.
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