“Falling off a ladder can kill.”
“Even a fall of one meter or less can result in death.”
So, are you using your ladder safely?
Undoubtedly, using a ladder is simple. But it’s also easy to overlook the severe risks while using a ladder.
Fall from ladders is the third main reason of occupational injuries and fatalities. Improper setup, faulty equipment, distraction, poor training, and adverse weather conditions are some of the reasons that may cause fall from a ladder and serious injuries, permanent disabilities, and even death.
These 9 tips for ladder safety will certainly help you understand the basic ladder safety rules and use your ladder safely.
Hazards Associated With Ladders
Some common ladder hazards include:
- Falls from the ladders
- Leaning or reaching too far rather than moving the ladder
- Placing the ladder on pallets or boxes to gain height
- Climbing up the ladder while carrying many supplies
- Standing on the very top of rung or step
- Striking objects or person while transporting ladders
- Contact with a power line or electrical equipment
Falls from Ladders
From July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2011, 37 users died following falls from ladder.
9 Tips for Ladder Safety – Read, Learn & Practice
Tips 1: Choose the Right Ladder for the task
There are various types of ladders, and it’s essential to select the correct ladder for the intended job.
Types of ladders:
Select the right ladder for the required task and height. Using the wrong ladder-type for your intended task can be dangerous. First consider your task at hand, select the correct ladder style and size.
Inside a home, most of the cases a step ladder is enough to meet the need. For outside routine tasks, you may need a taller single ladder. An extension ladder is also an excellent option for this purpose.
Tips 2: Ensure That the Working Height of Your Ladder Matches Your Reaching Height
Think about how high you need to reach to get the job done.
Make sure the ladder you’ll use is tall enough to reach your intended height. A standard ladder size is 18 ft. Although this height is enough to get to the edge of the roof of a standard single-story house, it may not be safe to get you on and off the one-story roof safely.
This is because you need something to hold onto when you’ll get back onto the ladder. So, you need to extend your ladder at least three rungs or 3 ft. above the roof to safely return to the ladder from the roof.
Most of the standard single-story houses usually require 24 ft. ladder whereas for 2 story house a 28 to 34 ft. ladder is better.
Tips 3: Choose a ladder according to its working load
Take into consideration how much weight the ladder need to hold.
You should use your ladder according to its “load capacity.” Load capacity means the amount of weight the ladder can hold, including any decorations or tools’ weight plus your weight.
Working load = load capacity of the ladder = User’s weight + weight of any tools or decorations
|Ladder Type||Load Rating||Load Capacity||Project Use|
|IAA||Special Duty||375 lbs or more||Industrial|
|IA||Extra Heavy-Duty||300 lbs or more||Industrial|
|I||Heavy-duty||250 lbs or more||Industrial|
|II||Medium duty||225 lbs or more||Commercial|
|III||Light duty||200 lbs or more||Household|
Tips 4: Inspect the Ladder Carefully Before Using It
- Inspect the ladder for defects, cracks, corrosion, any loose rungs, hinges or screws.
- Properly clean off the oil, grease, mud, snow or other slippery substances that might build up on the ladder.
- Avoid using a ladder which is bent, broken or damaged.
- Never temporarily repair any missing or broken parts of the ladder as there repaired parts could fail while you’re high off the ground and this may cause accident.
Tips 5: Have a Firm and Good Foundation
No matter what type of ladder you’re using, you have to set up your ladder correctly to prevent slips and falls. Take your time to set up the ladder securely.
Make sure you have a solid, even, and firm surface to comfortably place your ladder. Avoid soft, wet, slippery surfaces while setting up your ladder. Also, avoid uneven or rocky surface.
Place a board under the ladder’s feet if the base or ground is not firm enough.
Moreover, you shouldn’t place your ladder on a barrel, box or other objects to gain height. Also, check for the other hazard such as mud or water that may cause the ladder to lose its resistance.
Tips 6: Start With Firm Support at the Top of The Ladder
It’s also essential to have firm support at the top end of the ladder. Avoid leaning your ladder against any window pane or other unstable objects. Also, follow the angle rule and 4:1 rule while placing a straight or extension ladder against a wall.
It’s safe to have coworker or someone to hold the ladder before you climb up.
Tips 7: Climb with Care
While climbing, follow the rules below:
- Utilize Three Points-of-Contact when climbing a ladder.
The three Point-of-Contact Climb rule is: User must have 2 feet and 1 hand or 2 hands and 1 foot in contact with the ladder rungs, steps at all times.
- When you are climbing up a ladder, always face the ladder and hold on to the rungs, but never hold the side rails.
- Avoid getting on or off from the sides of a ladder unless it’s securely fastened to prevent its movement.
- Use your equipment belt, pockets or a tool pouch to climb with equipment. Avoid climbing up ladder with equipment or tools in your hands.
- If you need any supplies or tools, climb down the ladder to get it yourself. Never have coworker or someone to toss it up to you.
- Don’t ask someone to climb up your ladder to provide you tools or supplies. If you do so, there is a risk to exceed the weight limit of the ladder.
- When you climb down the ladder, always face the ladder. Also, keep your body square and grip the rungs of the ladder. Finally, step off at the very bottom rung or step of the ladder.
- Avoid jumping off a ladder.
Tips 8: Avoid Using Ladder in Bad Weather
Consider the weather conditions before climbing up a ladder. You may blow off the by strong wind. Due to rain, the ground and the rungs of the ladder may get slippery. Bitter cold makes a metal ladder brittle which may cause structural damage.
So, if rain, high winds or co weather starts, climb down from the ladder immediately.
If you’re on a ladder and encounter bad weather, never speed up to finish your task.
Tips 9: Plan Your Route Before You Haul a Ladder Around
“How to carry a ladder safely”- it’s also a frequently asked questions by many people.
To carry a ladder safely emphasize on the following issues:
- Ladders are unwieldy and heavy. So, it can strike another object, cars or person or hit the electrical power line. Before starting to carry or transport a ladder, check the area.
- Make sure that the ladder is as compact as possible before carrying or transporting it.
- Carry the ladder horizontally while tilting it lower in back and higher in front.
- If your ladder is particularly heavy and long, take the help of your coworker to carry it.
Falls from Ladder- Don’t Panic
- If you accidentally fall from a ladder, first calmly assess the situation.
- Then try to figure out if you’re hurt or not.
- Try to get up slowly.
- If you feel that you get injured that prevents you from standing or walking, don’t be worried. Call for assistance.
- If you’re not injured, take rest for a while and then try to attain your balance before climbing up again.
Step Ladder Safety Rules
- If it’s a step ladder or telescoping ladder you’re going to use, make sure you open the steps completely before you climb.
- On a stepladder, the highest standing position should be two steps down from the top.
- Block or lock the doorways and post signs if you have to use a step ladder near a door.
Single and Extension Ladder Safety
- Never stand above the marked level or higher than the third rung from the top end of the ladder.
- If you set up a ladder to access over the roof edge, your extension ladder should extend at least 3 ft. over the roof edge.
- According to the 4:1 rule, for every 4 ft. of the ladder height you should place the extension ladder 1 ft. away from the wall or support it rests against.
- Take care to fasten straight securely and extension ladders to the upper support.
More Ladder Safety Tips
- Take your time to read all the warning and safety label of the ladders. And follow the instructions correctly before you climb up the ladder. It’ll help you to prevent an accident.
- Avoid using the shelf on the ladder as a step.
- Never use the ladder as a scaffold or a bridge.
- You must be careful to clean your ladder after each use to prevent dirt accumulation.
- Wear dry and slip-resistant working shoes. Don’t use sandals or flip-flops.
- Don’t overreach or lean too far. Try to replace or reposition your ladder closer to your work point instead.
- If you‘re taking medications or consuming alcohol, don’t use a ladder.
- Use a fiberglass ladder if there is any power line near your workplace.
- To prevent ladder falls within your company, carry out Firm Safe Ladder Practices.
So, climbing a ladder is still scary for you?
Knowing and practicing the proper ladder safety rules is the key to protecting yourself against accidental injuries.
To make your work faster and easier and to prevent injuries, follow ladder safety rules every time you climb.
Reading these 9 tips for ladder safety means that you value not only your tools but also your safety.
A slight misstep could be devastating while working with your ladder.
So, Stay Safe!