According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are approximately 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries in the United States related to ladders. Many of us use ladders at work and at home. One fall from a ladder, whether at home or at work, could result in death or a serious or permanently disabling injury.
There are some general rules that apply to ladder safety that are applicable to work or home use.
- Maintain ladders free of oil, grease and other slipping hazards.
- Do not load ladders beyond their maximum intended load nor beyond their manufacturer’s rated capacity.
- Use ladders only for their designed purpose.
- Use ladders only on stable and level surfaces unless secured to prevent accidental movement.
- Do not use ladders on slippery surfaces unless secured or provided with slip-resistant feet to prevent accidental movement. Do not use slip-resistant feet as a substitute for exercising care when placing, lashing or holding a ladder upon slippery surfaces.
- Secure ladders placed in areas such as passageways, doorways or driveways, or where they can be displaced by workplace activities or traffic to prevent accidental movement. Or, use a barricade to keep traffic or activity away from the ladder.
- Keep areas clear around the top and bottom of ladders.
- Do not move, shift or extend ladders while in use.
- Use ladders equipped with nonconductive side rails if the worker or the ladder could contact exposed energized electrical equipment.
- Face the ladder when moving up or down.
- Use at least one hand to grasp the ladder when climbing.
- Do not carry objects or loads that could cause loss of balance and falling.
- Use a ladder that is the proper length for the job. Proper length is a minimum of 3 feet extending over the roofline or working surface. The three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder should not be stood on.
- Straight, single or extension ladders should be set up at about a 75 degree angle.
- Metal ladders will conduct electricity. Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder in the vicinity of power lines or electrical equipment. Do not let a ladder made from any material contact live electric wires.
- Be sure all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged.
- Keep your body centered between the rails of the ladder at all times. Do not lean too far to the side while working.
- Do not step on the top step, bucket shelf or attempt to climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.
- Never leave a raised ladder unattended.
- Follow use instruction labels on ladders.
As the seasons change, we utilize ladders for fall maintenance, landscaping, or even putting up those Christmas decorations. Be careful when using a ladder, whether you are at home or at work. A fall at either home or work can affect your work or home life.