"Ladder Safety in the Work Place”
In the Industrial Construction industry, we are often working on raised platforms and elevated workstations. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are one of the most common causes of "serious work related injury and death.” It is important to be aware of your surroundings and those you are working with.
Many fall injuries involve ladder related accidents. Some basic safety tips and personal awareness can prevent many injuries. Here are some safety rules according to the American Ladder Institute:
- If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder.
- Do not use ladders in high winds or storms.
- Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip resistant.
- Before using a ladder, inspect it to confirm it is in good working condition.
- Ladders with loose or missing parts must be rejected. Rickety ladders that sway or lean to the side must be rejected.
- The ladder you select must be the right size for the job.
- 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.
- Only one person at a time is permitted 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.
- Read the safety information labels on the ladder.
The American Ladder Institute suggests a simple rule of thumb: Three Points-of-Contact. This rule suggests the climber face the ladder and always during ascent, descent and working have two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder steps, rungs and/or side rails. This can minimize the chances of slipping and falling from a ladder. With the Three Points-of-Contact rule, the climber is not likely to "become unstable in the event one limb slips during the climb.” Also, do not carry any objects in either hand that could interfere with a firm grip on the ladder.
One last thought, if you are going to be using a ladder, have someone assist you while climbing. An extra set of eyes can watch for hazards either above the ladder and/or on the ground which may be harder for the climber to see. They can also assist in handing equipment and tools to you when work is being performed.
Image from: http://www.laddersareus.co.uk/
Make it a safe day!
American Ladder Institute – http://www.americanladderinstitute.org/?page=BasicLadderSafety
OSHA Website - https://www.osha.gov/