Ladder Safety

Most households have ladders. We use them for day to day tasks in our homes and on the job. Sometimes this makes us overlook or ignore the hazards of using a ladder. Why is ladder safety relevant?

Second only to highway crashes, falls are the leading cause of death on the job. Workers in the construction industry are most at risk. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 37% of construction fatalities involve falling from heights; Many of which involve falling from a ladder. Whether we’re on the job or at home, let’s use a ladder safely.

Preparation

  • Conduct a stand down. This is a voluntary meeting to discuss the hazards and safe work practices for the job.
  • Host a safety training. This is a great way to educate your workers on the hazards of working at heights.
  • Develop a rescue plan for if something goes wrong. Being prepared is vital in reducing further injury and protecting workers.

Before You Start

  • Choose the right ladder for the job. Consider these questions:
    • How high do you need to be for the job?
    • Are there electrical hazards? Should you use a metal or plastic ladder?
    • How much weight does it need to hold?
  • Conduct an inspection of the ladder. If you see any damage, do not use the ladder.
  • Ensure the ladder is on a firm foundation. Be sure to avoid slippery, wet surfaces. If there is a soft surface, use a board under the feet to stabilize it.
  • Make sure the legs of the ladder are fully open.
  • If using an extension ladder, for every 4 feet of height, the ladder should be 1 foot out from the base. (4ft:1ft, 8ft:2ft, etc)
  • Extension ladders should be securely fastened as soon as possible.
  • Extension ladders should extend 3 feet beyond the surface or point of support.
  • Do not use things like boxes, crates, blocks to create extra height.
  • Guard any floor openings or holes for if a fall occurs.

While Working

  • Do not use the ladder for any purpose other than what it is designed for.
  • Always work facing the ladder
  • Keep 3 points of contact with the ladder; 2 feet and 1 hand or 1 foot and 2 hands.
  • Do not stand or work from the top rung unless designed for that purpose.
  • Be aware of the ladder’s load capacity and do not overload the ladder.
  • Ensure the footing around the ladder is clear and the ladder is stable.
  • Do not overreach.
  • Do not have more than one worker on the ladder at a time.
  • If you are working outdoors, be aware of the weather conditions. If any changes occur, stop work until it is safe.

Ladders are valuable tool that can allow workers to access elevated areas for work. Use caution and work safe to prevent an accident. Ladder Safety can potentially prevent an injury, even possibly save a life. For more information you can visit the American Ladder Institute or OSHA. If you would like assistance developing a safety program for workers contact us.

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