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Your Ladder Matters: Ladder Safety

By January 6, 2020 No Comments

Don’t leave your ladder safety up in the air! Elevate your 2020 safety by brushing up on your ladder safety skills. Whether you are at work or home, using proper ladder safety techniques can greatly reduce your risk for injury.

Choose the right ladder

  1. Choose the style of ladder needed (e.g. extension ladder, stepladder, or job made)
  2. Select the appropriate ladder height
    1. For an extension ladder, add 7 to 10 feet from the highest support or contact point
  3. Select the appropriate ladder duty rating
    1. Duty rating is the maximum intended load which includes all weight on the ladder (e.g. person’s weight, tool weight, material weight).
  4. Choose the proper ladder material for type of work
    1. Fiberglass (working around electricity)
    2. Aluminum
    3. Wood (job made ladders)

Take Ladder Safety to New Heights: Inspection, set-up, use and storage

1. Pre-Use Inspection: inspect the ladder for major structural defects such as broken or missing rungs, cracked side rails, corroded components, or other faulty or defective components

  • If the ladder fails inspection, do not use the ladder
  • Return the ladder to the shop for repair or disposal

2.  Set-Up:

  • Setup on a stable and level surface
    • Do not stack objects under ladder legs to level the ladder
    • Use a leveling device if necessary
  • Avoid high traffic areas
    • If unavoidable, use barricades or an additional person to help re-route traffic
  • Set up stepladders at an angle to the work, as this allows you to put your best foot forward while maintaining your line of strength and balance
  • Set up an extension ladder with the base 1’ away from the wall for every 4’ the ladder reaches to create a 75-degree angle
  • An extension ladder needs to extend 3 feet above a roof line or working platform
  • Fully open a stepladder and firmly lock both spreaders. Never climb a closed stepladder.

3. Use:

  • Keep your belt buckle in between the side rails to make sure your body is centered
  • When ascending and descending, face the ladder
  • Use three points of contact when climbing
  • Carry tools in a tool belt or raise tools up using a hand line. NEVER carry any materials in your hands while using any type of ladder.
  • Highest standing level on a stepladder is two steps down from the top
  • Highest standing level on an extension ladder is four rungs from the top
  • Never climb a ladder during rain or strong winds or if there’s a chance of lightning

4. Storage:

Keep ladders in a sheltered area away from heat, weather, and corrosive materials.

Remember, safety is your best tool!