It’s High Time | Ladder Safety Practices

There are over 160,000 ladder-related injuries in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Falls from ladders are also one of the leading causes of injury in construction work. These falls are mainly caused by carelessness, ladder failures, and inappropriate ladder use. Awareness of ladder safety practices can help workers avoid dangerous scenarios.

Ladder Load Capacity: Look for the ladder’s “duty rating”, which shows the maximum load capacity of the ladder. If you and your equipment exceed the maximum weight capacity of the ladder, if may fail and collapse.

Ladder Condition: Ensure there are no broken, bent or missing parts of the ladder. Any damage, including cracks, splits, or corrosion are indications that the ladder is unsafe for use. Inspect all the ladder hardware to make sure bolts and rivets are secure and tightened. Check that the ladder’s anti-slip safety feet are in good condition.

Ladder Placement: Place ladder on a level, stable surface away from potential interference. If placed near doorways or walkways, the area should be blocked off to help ensure the ladder will not be hit or moved by people or objects. Extension ladders should be set-up at a 4:1 angle and should extend at least 3 feet above the area you are working on. (Look up the ‘4-to-1 Rule’ for more information). Adjust the placement of the ladder when needed, instead of trying to overreach, which often causes falls. Keep metal ladders away from power lines and electrical equipment.

Ladder Use: Slippery substances on your shoes or on the ladder rungs can cause you to slip and fall. Keep oil, mud, and other slippery substances off of shoes and the ladder rungs. On step-ladders, lock the spreader bars before use. Never use the top of the ladder as a step. Make sure extension ladder locks are engaged. When climbing, you should always face the ladder, have both hands free for use, and have three points of ladder contact (such as one hand and two feet). Only use ladders as intended by the manufacturer. Don’t get creative with your ladder use!

By using ladders correctly and only using ladders in good working condition, you can prevent ladder-related falls and avoid injury. For more information, see OSHA’s Ladder Safety page.

Date Posted: 09-12-2016
Tags: ladder safety, osha safety topics, osha safety training, osha workplace safety,
Categories: OSHA Safety,