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Employees who utilize ladders to complete job-related duties should be well-trained in ladder safety. Understanding how to use a ladder as safely as possible 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.
Check for broken rungs or rails and loose nails, bolts or screws, and look for any corroded metal part. 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.
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 them to help you with this.
The ladder should reach at least three feet beyond the point of support, and it should be secured.
Make sure to have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder at all times.
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.
Don’t overreach! Keep your body between the side rails of the ladder. Staying balanced helps reduce the chance of tipping it over or of falling off. Never try to use a ladder if you're feeling illy, dizzy or weak.
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.