Construction Ladder Safety

Featherlite ladders

Construction ladders make life a lot easier for the workers that use them but sometimes it can also be easy to overlook some simple safety procedures in the course of getting your work done. A general review of general safety tips is never a waste of time.

Using a ladder is something we all take for granted but every year thousands of construction workers are seen in emergency rooms after being hurt in accidents, some fatally, that involve ladders. Below are a few rules to keep in mind:

Man Carrying A LadderUse the right ladder for the job. There are many styles of ladders, some are safe on stairs and horizontal spaces but not all. Make sure you have the right one that will keep you safe.

Don't do work from a ladder if you are feeling out of sorts, dizzy, weak or ill.

This can be difficult if you work for an employer who may make you feel obligated. Remember, your well-being comes before anything even work. You may also feel pressure from co-workers to 'suck it up' but don't be persuaded. You're not on a 5th grade playground so don't let immature peer pressure cloud your better judgment. Ask any contractor and they will have at least one story of someone falling off a ladder and sustaining an injury, if you're not feeling well, find something else to do.

Inspect by Looking and Testing

Inspect the ladder before you step on it to make sure it is set up properly and that it is secure. If there are any locks or security latches on the ladder make sure they are engaged.

Make sure any ladders you use are safe and free of structural flaws, cracks or broken pieces that will compromise how sturdy they are. Get rid of ladders that are broken or have weak spots. If you plan on fixing them make sure they are identified as not being safe for anyone else that might want to use them.

A picture of an unsafe ladder

Only one person should stand on a ladder at a time. And avoid sudden movements when standing on the ladder such as sliding or trying to stretch to get to items that are out of reach.

Do not use ladders if you are outdoors and it is windy and do not step on the top couple of steps.

Make sure when you use a ladder that there is no clutter at the base and the bottom is not sitting on anything that will make the ladder tippy.

Never set a ladder on wet or slippery surfaces that might affect how sturdy it stands. Be sure to follow any weight restrictions listed by the manufacturer. Don't forget to include factoring in the weight of any tools or other work items you might have with you.

If your ladder has any metal on it do not use it near electricity.

A ladder may not seem like a dangerous piece of equipment but it's just as important to practice safety with ladders as it is with any other tool. It's a good idea to always use a ladder when there is another person around in case there should be an accident or a health emergency that could result in a fall.

Fall Prevention Training Guide CTA

Photo credit: Elmira College / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) 

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