Of all activities undertake at height, working with ladders is the most ubiquitous. Whether you work in construction or not, the chances are you have had some experience being up a ladder. Often in the construction industry, however, ladder heights are extreme, so any thorough working at height safety strategy needs to incorporate ladder safety.
As working with ladders can be so inherently dangerous, wherever working up a ladder can be avoided companies now frequently seek out alternatives. However, although there may be a move away from ladder usage, ladders are still instrumental in working at heights.
As ladders are an aspect of working at height, the dangers are ever-present and serious, and falls from heights are responsible for more fatalities in the workplace than any other risk. Therefore, whilst the ladder might be commonly used, its dangers should be taken seriously.
Like all tools of the trade, many of the dangers inherent in ladder usage can be minimised by using the ladder correctly. And, for example, a ladder should only be used for the job it was created for, and not as an improvised platform or gangway.
Also, again like any other tool, the condition of your ladder is important. And, just as you would check other equipment for whether it compromises roof safety, so you should check each rung of a ladder to see whether it is still in workable condition.