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Working with Stepladders

We've put together some guidance and advice on how to use stepladders safely and easily, as these are often the most used type of ladder in any household, and the accident figures are as high as ever. Mostly, accidents with stepladders tends to come from rushing, or forgetting basic safety procedures such as locking the stepladder in place once you've opened it. Stepladders are undoubtedly a must for every household, especially when they're a multi purpose ladder, as these often double up as extension and A Frame ladders, but can also potentially be the most hazardous as they tend to have additional safety catches or locks, which often get overlooked.

Luckily, by following a few simple rules, accidents with stepladders can be avoided, and risks minimised.

Make sure you use the correct facing side, i.e. some stepladders can only be used from one side, but some are double sided. Work sideways on your stepladder, at any time
Check that there is nothing you can hit your head on, or which may hamper you working, overhead. Have more than one person on the stepladder at a time. You may be tempted for one person to balance the weight on the other side, this isnt a good idea.
Check that the stepladder is locked into its correct position. If it's a multi-way design, make sure it's is the right configuration for the job you're doing. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Put loose tools where they could move or fall and cause an injury.
Keep both your feet on a step. Never stand on the top handrail to gain extra height. Don't forget... never over reach on your stepladder, you'll overbalance it, or even worse fall off it.
Wear flat, firm soles shoes. Never work in high heels, bare feet or slippers. Hang your stepladder vertically from one of its steps.
Keep a secure grip at all times, and dont be tempted to lean out over the stepladder further than you're meant to.  
Keep both your feet on the steps provided. The top handrail isn't a step!  
Keep your stepladder in good condition, dont leave it outside. A neglected stepladder can develop faults through corrosion or misuse.  
Keep it out of the way of children. Children love to climb!  
Rest the stepladder on a firm level base, and not on two different materials (such as grass and soil outside). If you're working outside, place a large, flat board on any soft ground to make a suitable base. If you're working inside, be sure to have the stepladder level.