It’s almost time to get back outside for spring cleanup. You don’t just need a ladder; you need a ladder that is in good condition and is appropriate for the task you’re doing. You also have to use the ladder safely and correctly. When used properly, a ladder provides a safe way to access a higher location such as a roof, ceiling, a light fixture, or the top shelf of a cabinet or storage rack. Using ladders improperly leads to serious injuries, falls, and in some cases, even death. Let’s review some best practices when it comes to ladder safety and fall prevention.
- Choose the right ladder for the job. For instance, use a fiberglass ladder when working near power lines since metal ladders conduct electricity.
- Be sure your straight ladder is long enough to extend 36 inches above the top support.
- Before you climb, always check the ladder for defects such as loose, split, cracked, or missing rungs. Checks rails for warping, cracks, and chips
- Make sure spreader locks on stepladders and rung locks on extension ladders work correctly.
- Keep ladders away from power lines.
- Always extend the A-frame legs of a stepladder. Don’t try to use it as a straight ladder.
- Don’t rest ladders on gutters, glass, or other weak support services. Set up ladders on a solid footing against a solid support.
- Don’t set ladders in areas such as doorways or walkways unless they are protected from barriers.
- Tie off ladders so they can’t shift or slide.
- Always face a ladder when using it. Don’t lean; keep your body between the rails. Don’t reach; instead climb down and move the ladder.
- Don’t stand on the top two (2) rungs of a stepladder or the top four rungs of a straight ladder.
- If the rungs are dirty, icy, or slippery, take the ladder out of service and don’t use it until the rungs have been cleaned and are safe.
- Always maintain three points of contact (one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot).
- Never use a ladder horizontally as a platform, as a scaffold, or to support scaffold planks.
- Don’t climb a ladder if you are using alcohol, drugs, or even some over-the-counter medications.
- Never move a ladder while someone is on it.
YOUR WEIGHT +TOOLS+MATERIALS = THE TOTAL WEIGHT ON THE LADDER. NEVER EXCEED THE WEIGHT LIMIT FOR YOUR LADDER.