Ladder safety should start before even stepping foot on one. The improper use of a ladder, or using an object other than a ladder to reach an item, can result in serious injury due to over – reaching or falling. Statistics suggest that workers are more likely to abuse and misuse ladders rather than use them correctly in the workplace.
There are a number of factors that must be considered when working with ladders, and following key practices of ladder safety can help prevent a potential injury.
Inspect a ladder for cracks, loose rungs, slivers and sharp edges prior to every use. If the ladder appears to be in poor condition, do not use it.
Use caution while carrying or moving ladders.
Practice team lifting if the ladder is too long or heavy for one person to move.
Ladders should be carried horizontally rather than vertically, unless it is lightweight or under eight feet tall.
Ensure ladders are set on firm ground and against a solid support during use.
When using a non-self-supporting ladder, which must lean against a wall or other support, be sure to position it at such an angle that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about 1/4 the working length of the ladder.
Always completely open the step ladder and make certain it is stable before using it.
Make note of the maximum intended load and manufacturer’s rated capacity when selecting and using ladders.