Injuries in the workplace because of ladder are commonplace. Falls from ladders can be as painful as a fall from a roof; about a third of all reported falls are falls from ladders. (*) Many of the fall related injuries result from the improper use or the use of a defective ladder.
Step/extension ladders are made to access/egress upper levels, not to be used as work platforms. There are specifically designed ladders for use as work platforms such as order pickers. These ladders are constructed with a small platform and guardrail. The following safe work rules should be observed when working with ladders.
(*) 1993-94 Study: 238 of 705 falls based on an OSHA study.
– Look for missing or loose cleats at the bottom.
– Look for loose or missing screws, bolts or nails on job made ladders
– Look for cracked, broken, split, dented or badly worn rungs, cleats or side rails.
– Splinters on wood ladders.
– Corrosion on metal ladders.
-Always use the right ladder for the right job.
-Don’t set your ladder in a walkway or door opening.
-Keep the area at the top and bottom of the ladder clear of tool cords, tools, material and garbage.
-Always set the ladder on solid footing.
-Use a twenty-five percent (25%) angle on the slope of the ladder.
-When using extension ladders, the three (3) top rungs must extend beyond the landing platform. (Or the top of an extension ladder must be 36” (3 feet) above the landing.
-Don’t lean to the side when on a ladder or you may tip over.
-Do not carry tools or materials on a ladder. Use both hands when climbing a ladder to grab onto the side rails. If it is necessary to move material or tools up a ladder, first climb up, then pull up the work with a hand line.
-Only one person on a ladder at a time (unless the ladder is double cleated).
-Always secure the top of the ladder to prevent it from sliding.
-Never lean a step ladder; always fully open a step ladder.
-Always face the ladder.
Additional Discussion Notes: Always tie off the ladder. That way it stays where you put it.
Remember: When you are on a ladder, you can fall. If you can fall, you can get hurt. Use ladders safely.