Ladder Safety: Tips and Tricks

Ladder Safety: Tips and Tricks for Avoiding Falls and Injuries

March is National Ladder Safety Month

Ladders are common tools that can help us reach high places, but they can also pose serious risks if not used properly. According to the National Safety Council, more than 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries every year in the U.S., and about 300 of them die. Most of these injuries are preventable if we follow some simple ladder safety rules.

Start with Fall Protection

To help prevent falls while using a ladder, be prepared with fall protection:

  • Use a safety harness: When working at heights, it is recommended to use a safety harness attached to a secure anchor point to prevent falls.
  • Use a ladder stabilizer: A ladder stabilizer can help prevent the ladder from tipping or slipping, providing additional safety when working at heights.
  • Use a spotter: Having someone hold the base of the ladder and act as a spotter can provide additional stability and support.

Choose the right ladder for the job

·       Make sure the ladder is sturdy, stable, and has no visible damage or defects.

·       Check the weight capacity and height limit of the ladder and do not exceed them.

·       Select a ladder that is appropriate for the type of work you are doing. For example, use a step ladder for indoor tasks and an extension ladder for outdoor tasks.

·       Avoid using metal ladders near electrical wires or sources of heat.

Set up the ladder correctly

·       Place the ladder on a firm, level, and dry surface. Do not use the ladder on slippery, uneven, or soft ground.

·       Secure the ladder to prevent it from slipping or falling. You can use ropes, straps, or hooks to anchor the ladder to a fixed point.

·       Position the ladder at a safe angle. The general rule is to place the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet of ladder height.

·       Extend the ladder at least three feet above the landing point or the edge of the roof.

Climb and work safely on the ladder

·       Wear proper footwear, such as shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.

·       Use both hands to grip the ladder and maintain three points of contact at all times. This means having two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder.

·       Do not carry heavy or bulky items up or down the ladder. Use a tool belt, a rope, or a pulley system to transport your tools and materials.

·       Do not lean, stretch, or reach too far from the ladder. Keep your body centered and your belt buckle within the rails of the ladder.

·       Do not stand on the top rung or step of the ladder or on the paint shelf.

·       Do not move or adjust the ladder while you are on it. Climb down and reposition the ladder as needed.

By following these ladder safety tips, you can reduce the risk of falling and injuring yourself or others. Remember to always inspect your ladder before use, set it up properly, and climb and work with caution. For more information on ladder safety, you can visit the websites of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Ladder Institute (ALI).