Safety Precautions in Using Ladders
Ladders are ancient tools that have not changed substantially for hundreds of years. Recently however, several companies have introduced some new innovations that dramatically increase the safety and more efficient uses of ladders.
No matter what ladder you are using always keep in mind that the higher you are on a ladder the greater chance for a more serious injury or even fatality. Even a misstep from the bottom rung can cause serious ankle, foot or knee injuries.
There are a surprising number of ladder accidents, or ladder related injuries every year.
- 81% of Fall Injuries Treated in Emergency Rooms Involve Ladders
- Over 300 Deaths (one per day!) in the U.S. annually are Due to Ladder Injuries
- Over 164,000 Ladder Related Emergency Room Visits Annually
- Over 700,000 Reported Ladder Injuries Annually
- Ladder accidents are the Leading Cause of Deaths on Construction Sites
- 43% of Fatal Falls (in this Decade) Involve a Ladder
To avoid these sort of ladder accidents or ladder related injuries, here are some ladder safety precautions:
Choose the Right Type of Ladder
- Choosing the right type of ladder will depend on the intended use. There are special materials and designs of ladders created for specific uses. Make sure the ladder you are using is appropriate for the intended use.
- Here are some general ladder type and descriptions
Ladder Type Duty Rating Description Type 1AA Ladder 375 lb. Extra-heavy-duty industrial ladder Type 1A Ladder 300 lb. Heavy-duty industrial ladder Type 1 Ladder 250 lb. Heavy-duty industrial ladder Type 2 Ladder 225 lb. Medium-duty commercial ladder Type 3 Ladder 200 lb. Light-duty household ladder
- Height of a ladder, weight of the person (climber) and the weight of the things you will be carrying will matter the most. Because specific ladder can only carry specific weights, if the climber and equipment exceeds the maximum weight capacity a ladder could break causing serious injury.
- Aluminum ladder should never be used around electrical equipment or for repairs or maintenance. Aluminum is a conductor of electricity. Always use a fiberglass ladder around electrical equipment of any type.
How to Avoid Ladder Accidents
- Before using a ladder, make it a habit to assess and inspect the ladder for defects like missing screws, loose components, breaks, cracks, or any damaged parts. Any ladders in less-than-perfect condition must NOT be used, and should be discarded. Also remember to inspect the steps or rungs of the ladder for any slippery substance to avoid slipping off the ladder.
- When the ladder is set-up for use, it must be placed on firm level ground and without any type of slippery condition present at either the base or top support points.
- Always be at least ten feet away from any electrical lines.
- Never set up a traditional extension ladder too close to the wall or too far from the wall. For a standard extension ladder, position it at least one-quarter of the ladder’s length away from the wall. Check the ladder’s angle. It should be about 75 degrees angle with the ladder rails leaning against a wall for support. The top of the ladder should extend at least three feet above the top of the top support surface, and be secured at the top and bottom. If the ladder is not properly positioned or secured it could tip or slide causing serious injury*.
*Note LockNClimb Specialty Ladder Systems have a patented support system, so they don’t need to lean on or touch sensitive equipment or surfaces for safety.
More Safety Tips
- Never stand on the top, or second-to-the-top rung (or step).
- If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder.
- In climbing a ladder, always keep your body near the middle of the rungs or steps and always face the ladder. Never work facing sideways, overreaching or leaning on the sides of a ladder.
- Never use ladders in high winds or storms.
- Always wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip resistant.
- The ladder you select must be the right size for the job. The Duty Rating of the ladder must be greater than the total weight of the climber, tools, supplies and other objects placed upon the ladder.
- The length of the ladder must be sufficient so that the climber does not have to stand on the top, or second-to-the top, rung or step.
- Never have more than one person at a time on a ladder, unless the ladder is specifically designed for more than one climber.
- Ladders must not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the ladder. The door must be blocked open, locked, or guarded.
- Always Read the safety information labels on the ladder. The on-product safety information is specific to the particular type of ladder on which it appears. The climber is not considered qualified or adequately trained to use the ladder until familiar with this information.
- Use only a proven OSHA and ANSI standard and a ladder safety products or tools.
- Never lean, over reach or stand sideways while working on a ladder.
- Never move the ladder while standing on it.
And always remember, when using a ladder An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. - Benjamin Franklin
Okay, okay, he probably wasn’t referring to using a ladder, but you get the point, we hope!