Safe Ladder Usage 101
When it comes to climbing ladders please consider the safety risk involved before climbing up. Falls from portable and extension ladders are one of the leading causes of occupational injuries and fatalities. The following is a list of safety tips and guidelines to make sure you, and everyone around you, stay safe.
Make sure you read and follow the instructions on the ladder, pay close attention to weight limits to whatever ladder you are getting ready to scale.
Look for overhead power lines before moving the ladder. Don’t use metal ladders near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
Always do an inspection on your ladder before use. If something is broken or bent, either replace it, or get it repaired. If it’s a commercial ladder, make sure you tag it and pull it off line so another co-worker doesn’t grab it and use it.
You should always keep a 3-point contact when climbing (two hands and a foot, or two feet and one hand). Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing.
Make sure you use the right ladder and accessories for their designed purpose.
The ladder must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps, or feet.
Don’t use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step unless it was designated for that purpose.
Use a ladder only on stable/level ground, unless the ladder is secured to prevent displacement.
Don’t use boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to gain extra height for the ladder.
If the ladder needs moved or shifted, make sure that everyone and equipment is off of it.
The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface.
If using the ladder in a place where it can get displaced by other work activities, make sure it’s secured.
Keep all traffic away from the area around the ladder.
Make sure that the locks on the on the extension ladder are properly engaged.
Be aware of the weight capacity of the ladder, and don’t exceed the maximum load. You need to take into account your weight and anything you carry on it.
Take a few minutes before getting on your next ladder by doing that inspection, and being mindful of its placement. By following these suggested ideas, serious injury can be prevented.
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Want to learn more about ladder safety? Check out this OSHA link: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1926/1926.1053