A couple days ago, we had a post about ladder safety inside the home. Today, we will talk about ladder safety outside the home.
Know the maximum rate rating of your ladder. Remember to calculate your weight and the weight of your tools before you climb. Inspect your ladder before using it. Make sure your shoes are slip resistant . Also, make sure your ladder is set on a firm, level surface. Lock or block off any doors that might be opened while you are working.
Set-up the ladder Safely
When using an A-frame, make sure the spreader bars are secure and locked in place. Make sure to set up the ladder on level ground. If the ground is unlevel, use levelers or dig out the high side. Many people think the solution to unlevel ground is to raise the low side with blocks of wood or bricks, but doing this can actually lead to dangerous accidents with your ladder tipping. If using an extension ladder, set up the ladder at the correct angle and make sure the ladder extends three feet (or three rungs) above what you are leaning it against.
Keep your body between the rails, don’t lean to one side. Wear sturdy shoes with good, gripping soles. Always remembers to maintain three points of contact. That means to have three parts of your body (two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand) on the ladder at all imes. Don’t be afraid to take time while getting your project done. Many accidents are caused by rushing to get a project done and not paying attention to being safe. Another tip is to have a spotter, someone who is with you while you are working.
Did we miss any tips for homeowners working outside? Remember to climb safe!
This week, we are focusing our blog on ladder safety at home. This post will be about ladder safety inside.
Maintain Your Ladder
Inspect your ladder regularly to make sure it’s in good working order. Every time you use your ladder, you should inspect it. Check to make sure there are no bent rails or rungs and that the rivets and/or welds are still secure. Also make sure to keep your ladder clean and dry and to wipe it down after each use. This will help your ladder not only stay safer, but also last longer.
Set it Up Safely
When setting up your ladder, set it up on a firm, level surface. If using an extension ladder, set your ladder up against a surface that is stable enough to hold the ladder. Also make sure that the ladder is at the correct angle, 75.5 degrees. A good rule of thumb is for every four feet (or four rungs), have the ladder one foot from the wall.
Use it Safely
Always read the label and manufacture instrations before climbing. Choose the right ladder for the job. Use the ladder for what it was designed for, and use a fiberglass ladder when you are working near electrical wires. Remember to maintain three points of contact while on the ladder and never stand on the top rung or top cap.
In our last blog post we talked about OSHA’s most common citations. Today let’s talk about the most common causes of ladder accidents.
Selecting the Wrong Type of Ladder
Selecting the wrong type of ladders is one of the most common causes of ladder accidents, but it is one of the easiest problems to prevent and fix. First, you want to make sure you have the right weight rating on your ladder. You want to double check that the weight rating will hold not only your weight, but also the weight of your equipment. You also want to choose the right type of ladder. Don’t use a stepladder for an extension ladder’s job, and don’t use an extension ladder when you should use a stepladder.
Using Worn or Damaged Ladders
Before climbing the ladder, make sure that you inspect it. Check the rungs and rails. If they are damaged in any way, don’t climb the ladder. Check the ladder’s feet. If the ladder feet are worn out, contact the manufacturer for new ones. Worn feet can cause the ladder to slip, leading to injuries. If any part of your ladder doesn’t pass the inspection, take the ladder out of service and either repair it or destroy it.
Incorrect Use of Ladders
This common mistake covers a lot of ladder issues. Set up the ladder correctly, and make sure the ladder is secure. Maintain three points of contact. Don’t lean while on the ladder. If using an extension ladder, make sure it extends three feet above the roofline.
Incorrect Placement of Ladders
When you set up your ladder, make sure you set it up at the right angle. An extension ladder should be at a 75.5 degree angle. Also, never set your ladder up in front of an unlocked door.
The American Ladder Institute has tips for helping you be safer on your ladder. This blog always focuses on ladder safety, but this month, we are really honing in on some of the ladder safety details. Here are a couple of tips from the American Ladder Institute on how you can be safer on a ladder.
Sometimes, you should avoid using the ladder.
- If you feel tired or dizzy
- When there are high winds or storms
- The ladder isn’t in good working condition
- You don’t have slip-resistant shoes
- The ladder you have isn’t the right size or weight rating for the job
- You don’t have firm, level ground to put your ladder on
- You were planning to use the ladder in front of an open door
- You haven’t read the safety information on the ladder
All of these “things to avoid” can be easily fixed or prevented by just doing the opposite. Use your ladder in the following conditions:
- When you feel in good health
- When theweather is good
- The ladder is in good working condition
- You are wearing slip-resistant shoes
- The ladder is the right size or weight rating for the job
- You have firm, level ground to put your ladder on
- If using a ladder in front of a door, the door is closed and locked
- You have read the safety information on the ladder
According to OSHA.gov, the top ten most common citations are:
- Fall Protection.
- Hazard Communication.
- Respiratory Protection.
- Powered Industrial Trucks.
- Electrical, Wiring Methods.
- Machine Guarding
- Electrical, General Requirements
Two of these ten are directly related to ladders, and could be prevented if regulations were followed. Especially with the month being ladder safety month, we want to focus on how to prevent these citations by following the OSHA guidelines.
So, what are the regulations that can help you be safer?
The following is the list of regulations from the OSHA website for “portable ladders”:
- Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.
- Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder. Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
- Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.
- Always maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing (see diagram).
- Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes.
- Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.
- Do not use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
- Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.
- Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
- Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
- Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
- An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support (see diagram). Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.
- The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface (see diagram).
- A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
- Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.
- Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.
One of the issues is that workers often forget to follow these guidelines, resulting in accidents and/or citations from OSHA. Take a minute to remind yourself of these guidelines so you stay safe.