Whether you're carrying out a major project in your loft, or you're simply up there to retrieve some occasional use items, safety should always be a number one priority.
We’ll all end up taking a trip up to our lofts every once in a while. For most of us, that may only be a few times a year, whereas others might be making the trip once every few weeks, depending on what we’re up there for! But if you’re going to be working in your loft for any reasonable length of time - whether you’re sorting out your loft storage, or you’re installing Loft Legs - your safety is naturally always going to be a number one priority. It’s fair to say we’ve got a good amount of experience with moving around in lofts ourselves here at Loft Leg, so we thought we’d share some of our experience!
Wear appropriate PPE
We can’t overstate the importance of this one. The average loft can present several physical dangers, some of which are more obvious than others! You may need to watch out for protruding screws or nails - which have been known to cause hospital visits - and you’ll definitely need to think about protecting yourself from the dust, loose fibres and other irritants that can often be floating around on the air.
If you’re in doubt about whether you need a specific piece of PPE, we’d always advise getting yourself equipped with it, just in case!
• Long-sleeved top or hoodie
• Protective gloves (lightweight protective work gloves are often best)
• Long trousers or coveralls - vital for laying loft floor insulation
• Dust mask - for loft work, ideally an FFP-3 rated disposable mask
• Safety goggles - again, vital for loft floor insulation
• Knee pads
Once you’re fully equipped with your PPE, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s all fully sealed up, so no part of your skin is left exposed. That means goggles and masks need to be fitted securely around your face, and if you can, tuck the gloves into your cuffs so that you cover your wrists. This is why we recommend a hoodie, by the way - helpful for protecting your head!
Thoroughly prepare your environment
Whenever you’re working in your loft, ideally you’ll want to reduce the number of trips you make in and out of it to the bare minimum. (Not only is this helpful from a safety perspective, but it’s just more convenient in the broader sense, too.)
All the tools and materials you need should be placed where they need to be, either at the foot of the loft ladder or at the top of it. If you need to be carrying one or two essential items with you at all times, a simple tool belt can come in handy. (Speaking of essentials, it’s a smart move to have your mobile on you at all times. That way if you get into trouble, you’ve got an effective and reliable way to call for help.)
You’ll also want to make sure your loft space is properly lit. A quick fix can be to use a head torch if it’s not, but if you’re looking at something more long-term, our Loft Lights are an effective way to drastically increase its visibility.
Above all - tread carefully!
You may not need us to tell you this, but whenever you’re moving around in your loft, watch where you step. Never stand on plasterboard, for example, as it won’t bear your weight.
Of course, if you’ve already boarded your loft, this may not be such a massive concern. If not though, you’ll want to think about using walk boards (sometimes known as crawl boards), which give you the means to more easily move around. Having three of them is generally a good number, as it allows you to stand on one while moving the others around you. When you’re laying these across the ceiling joists, though, we suggest you try and minimise overhang over the end joists. Otherwise, when you step on the furthest ends, the entire board could see-saw and send you flying - not an ideal scenario by any means!
Obviously, it’s a good idea to try not to disturb loose fibres and similar substances if you can possibly avoid it. You may want to consider closing the loft hatch to seal in the dust, but be careful you don’t accidentally lock yourself in!
As we touched on above, many of our customers here at Loft Leg are seasoned DIY-ers, but others are far less confident. Therefore, we’re happy to provide as much or as little expertise as you need for your own loft project. We’ve even got a nationwide network of installers who can do the job for you, such as Access4Lofts as well as others covering Scotland, England and Wales. Feel free to give us a call on 01282 861 001, and we’ll be happy to see what we can do for you!