Ladders are used in many of our jobs. They are used during the building of homes, when we do roofing, to get to and from the next level or scaffold, etc. Painters use ladders of all sizes. Sheetrock installers use them, also electricians, plumbers, glazers, masons, ironworkers, and at one time or another, just about every construction trade on the job. Typically, there are four types of ladders – the straight ladder, the fixed ladder, the extension, and stepladders.
Ladders are safe only when used correctly.
Before starting any job that requires the use of a ladder make sure you select the right length. Ladders that are too short or too long can cause an accident.
Some of the causes of ladder accidents include failure to inspect a ladder prior to use:
- check for broken rungs
- make sure the side rails aren't damaged
- look for any other obvious defect
Once you have determined the ladder is safe, set it up; make sure that the ladder extends three feet above the landing. Then tie it off to prevent it from tipping over. Check for any overhead power lines in the area—you don't want to become an electrical conductor. Remember the 4 to 1 rule – for every 4 feet of ladder height, the base of the ladder must be 1 foot from the structure. If you're in a traffic area, barricade the base area of the ladder. Also, be sure the base of the ladder is on a level footing never on brick or concrete blocks—uneven surfaces can lead to a fall.
When climbing a ladder always use both hands, face forward and have a good grip. Don't try to one hand it or climb facing away and take only one-step at a time. 3 points of contact are required at all times. Always hoist tools with hand line.
A few additional ladder safety tips:
- never reach too far, keep your belt buckle between the rails
- never stand on the top two rungs or steps
- keep ladders free from slippery materials
- remove defective ladders from service immediately
If you follow these guidelines, your ladder work should be a safe operation. Don't let ladders make you fall down on the job.
Replace worn or damaged ropes. Lubricate pulleys and ladder locks, and only one person on a ladder at a time.
For a Video Tool Box Talk on ladder safety visit our YouTube page here.
If you have questions or want to contact us directly email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 800-727-5051.