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Ladder Safety

Your life literally can depend on knowing how to inspect, use, and care for ladders. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about the safe use of ladders.

Hazards to watch for:

Before using a ladder, inspect it. Look for:
  1. Loose or missing rungs or cleats.
  2. Loose nails, bolts, or screws.
  3. Cracked, broken, split, dented, or badly worn rungs, cleats, or side rails.
  4. Wood splinters.
  5. Corrosion of metal ladders or metal parts.

If you find a ladder in poor condition, don’t use it. Report it. It should be tagged and properly repaired or immediately destroyed.

Safe procedures:

Choose the right type and size ladder.
  • Be sure straight ladders are long enough so that the side rails extend above the top support point by at least 36”. Secure the ladder by tying it off.
  • Don’t set up ladders in areas such as doorways or walkways where they may be run into by others,unless they are protected by barriers. Keep the area around the top and base of the ladder clear. Don’t run hoses, extension cords, or ropes on a ladder and create an obstruction.
  • Never increase the height of a ladder by standing it on boxes, barrels, or other materials. Never splice two ladders together.
  • Don’t try to use a step ladder as a straight ladder.
  • Tie in, block, or otherwise secure the top of straight ladders to prevent them from being displaced.
  • To avoid slipping on a ladder, check your shoes for oil, grease, or mud and wipe it off before climbing.
  • Always face the ladder and hold on with both hands when climbing up or down. Don’t try to carry tools or materials with you.
  • Don’t lean out to the side when you’re on a ladder. If something is out of reach, get down and move the ladder over.
  • Most ladders are designed to hold only one person at a time. Two may cause the ladder to fail or throw it off balance.
  • Remember the 1 to 4 rule - the base of the ladder should be 1’ away from the wall or support for every 4’ of vertical extension.
Important key points for safe ladder use:
  • Pick the right ladder for the job you are going to do.
  • Make sure the ladder is in good condition.
  • Set up the ladder correctly.
  • Work safely on the ladder.

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