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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
- 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.
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Prevent ladder accidents
Each day ladder-related accidents cause 2000 injuries, including one fatal injury. This infographic provides good reminders about how to work safely with ladders so you can reduce the risk of ladder-related injuries and fatalities. Read to find out how to decide if a ladder is the best option for the job, how to choose an appropriate ladder, and how to work safely on your ladder. Included are helpful tips you can share with employees or colleagues.
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