How to stay on top of ladder safety

Each day ladder-related accidents cause:

  • 2000 Injuries
  • 1 Fatality

In the workplace, 20% of fall injuries involve ladders. In construction 81% of fall injuries involve ladders (based on data from fall injuries treated in emergency rooms).

Take these steps for ladder safety

First, determine if a ladder is the best option for the job.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Will I have to hold heavy items while on the ladder?
  • Do I have to stand on the ladder sideways in order to do this work?
  • Will I be working from this height for a long time?
  • Is the elevated area high enough that it would require a long ladder that could be unstable?

OSHA suggests that if you answer “YES” to any of these questions, a ladder might not be a good idea.

Choose the right ladder

Which type?

  • Step ladders (self supporting ladders)
  • Extension ladders (non-self supporting ladders)

Ladder height – Choose a ladder that is the correct height for the job.

  • Extension ladders should extend 3 feet beyond the edge that supports them and be placed at a safe angle.
  • OSHA says a safe angle is when “the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about ¼ the working length of the ladder.”
  • Never stand on the top rung or step

Ladder material – Consider the material from which your ladder is made. Aluminum is conductive and not to be used around electricity.

  • Fiberglass (for working around electricity)
  • Aluminum (lightweight, NOT for use around electricity)

Safety features – ProTip: If unsure about the safety level of the ladder, take time to locate a knowledgeable store clerk and ask!

  • Are safety treads present to avoid slipping?
  • Is the ladder certified?
  • Are lock bars present?
  • Are the steps safely connected to the frame?
  • Does the ladder have safety feet that anchor the ladder?

Follow these ladder safety guidelines

  • Inspect the ladder for damage or stability issues.
  • For self-supporting ladders, lock the metal spreader for security. If your ladder does not have them, consider another one.
  • Place the ladder on stable ground.
  • Always have 3 points of contact with the ladder (two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand).
  • Face the ladder when ascending or descending.
  • Don’t carry tools in your hands. Use a tool belt!
  • Use a spotter for extra safety.
  • Wear proper footwear with treads
  • Don’t lean outside the ladder’s rails.

Creative Safety Supply is committed to being your safety and labeling experts. We provide a wide range of industrial safety products to increase visual awareness, safety and Lean practices. Call today!

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