Topics: Loss Control
Each year, more than 100 workers are fatally injured in ladder-related accidents, with thousands more suffering disabling injuries. Whether you’re on the job site or checking off your to-do list at home, keeping safety top of mind when using a ladder can help avoid a serious injury or even death. This year marks the fourth annual National Ladder Safety Month, presented by to the American Ladder Institute, a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting safe ladder use both at home and in the workplace.
Falls from portable ladders are a leading cause of injuries in the workplace. Any employees who utilize ladders to complete job-related duties should be well-trained in ladder safety. This helps ensure they understand all the various risks invovlved and what precautions to take to prevent a fall. In recognition of National Ladder Safety Month, here are seven simple tips to remember for safer ladder use.
#1. Inspect the ladder before use. Check for broken rungs or rails. When using an extension ladder, also check the pulleys, ropes and locks for signs of excessive wear. Lastly, check the footings to make sure they still have a non-skid surface.
#2. Remember the 1:4 rule for extension ladders. For every four feet of height you are climbing, move the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall. Some ladders have an illustrated guide somewhere on it to help you with this.
#3. Reach three feet beyond. The ladder should reach at least three feet beyond the point of support, and it should be secured.
#4. Follow the 3-point rule. Make sure to have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder at all times.
#5. Face forward. When ascending or descending, always face the ladder. Also, remember to have both hands free to grasp it securely. Tools should be carried in a tool belt or pulled up with a rope once you have reached your working area.
#6. Stay balanced. Don’t overreach! Keep your body between the side rails of the ladder. This helps reduce the chance of tipping it over or of falling off.
#7. Remember your stopping point. When using a straight or extension ladder, don’t climb higher than the third rung from the top. For step ladders, the second tread from the top should be your stopping point.
Remember, practicing ladder safety both in the workplace and at home can be the key to preventing a devastating injury.