Ladder Safety Tips: A Helpful Guide

Key Safety Steps to Prevent Ladder Accidents

To prevent injuries caused by falls from ladders or elevated heights, practice these helpful safety precautions every day when using a ladder. (Below) I will cover the parts of a ladder, ladder safety standards, and personal fall protection systems. The most severe injuries are those caused by falls from heights and falls from ladders can cause serious injuries. Many Americans are injured each year due to ladder accidents. Again, you can reduce the chance of injury and falls by following ladder safety rules. Different types of ladders have different rules. Let’s examine each type of ladder and the best practices to follow to avoid injury.

How Does an Extension Ladder Work?

An extension ladder has two or more sections joined by a sliding mechanism, extending to full length. The foot at the bottom of the ladder is made of rubber pads that maintain contact with the ground. They usually turn or rotate slightly to make better contact with the surface. The fly section is at the top of the extension ladder. It is the part where the climber rests while near the top. The base section remains in place. It has the routes that climbers use while climbing the ladder. Two-track locks are attached to the fly section to keep the fly portion in place. For them to fit at the top of a rung or in the fly section, these locks function as supports and prevent the fly from sliding down once it supports the climber’s weight.

Extension Ladder Rules and Procedures

Let’s look at the rules and procedures to be followed when using extension ladders. Before each use, inspect the ladder. Ask yourself these questions while inspecting the ladder; Are the rungs in good condition? Do the ladder fasteners work properly? Does the ladder have non-slip feet, and if so, are they in good condition?

Extension Ladder Set Up Guidelines

Before using a ladder, follow these guidelines to ensure it is safe before you climb it.

  1. Bring the ladder to a stable, level surface.
  2. Avoid placing the ladder on gravel or dirt, which could shift and cause the ladder to fall.
  3. Ensure that both feet are firmly placed on the ground.
  4. Secure the bottom of the ladder or have someone hold it while you climb.
  5. Tip the ladder correctly using the 4-to-1 rule.
  6. The ladder base should be one foot distant from the wall for every four feet you climb the ladder. For example, if the ladder makes contact with the wall 12 feet off the ground, the ladder’s feet should be three feet from where the ladder touches the ceiling.
  7. Make sure both feet are securely fastened to the surface.
  8. Do not place a block under one foot if the surface is not level.

When using the ladder to approach an upper landing such as a roof, deck, or hallway, the ladder must extend above the surface at least three feet or three steps. This extension ensures that part of the stairway can be supported and transferred between the stairway and the landing. When a ladder is placed in front of a door, the door must be locked and a warning signposted.

When Using an Extension Ladder

When working with an extension ladder, it is essential to observe the following guidelines as follows:

  1. When climbing or descending a ladder, always look at the front of the ladder.
  2. Climb with both hands holding the rungs, not the rails.
  3. Do not be tempted to hold tools or other objects in your hands when climbing the stairs.
  4. Use a tool belt or bucket hanger for these objects.
  5. Use the three-point grip method for climbing and descending.
  6. When working on a ladder for painting or other projects, always keep one hand on the ladder. Keep your weight centered on the ladder.
  7. Don’t stand on the top four steps of the extension ladder.
  8. Do not step to the left or right.

When you reach the edge of a landing to step on, grasp the top of the rails with both hands and step carefully on the staircase.

How Does a Step Ladder Work?

A step ladder is built with wide, flat steps and two pairs of rails connected by a hinge at the top, which opens at the bottom to be independent without being joined or supported by anything else. Locking spacers secure the two pairs of legs. The ladders also include a shelf that can hold paint cans or other objects while working.

Step Ladder Rules and Procedures

Like extension ladders, step ladders should always be inspected before use as follows:

  1. When you open a ladder, make sure that the two metal hinges, called spacers, are closed and straight.
  2. Never place a step ladder on an uneven surface.
  3. Each foot should make firm contact with the ground or floor surface.
  4. Never sit or stand on the top of a step ladder. The recommendation from step ladder manufacturers is to never stand on the last two steps.
  5. If your knees are over the top of the ladder, you are too high on the ladder.
  6. Use a step ladder about three feet shorter than the highest point you have to reach. This gives you a broader, more stable base and places the shelf at a convenient working height.
  7. Place a step ladder at a right angle to work, with the front or back of the steps facing the work.
  8. Always keep your hips within the two vertical rails when working from a step ladder.
  9. Reaching too far to the left or right could cause the ladder to fall.
  10. Never lean a ladder against a wall and then climb it because it can easily slide under you.
  11. When working on or near electrical machinery, the ladder must be non-conductive.
  12. Use a fiberglass or wooden ladder. Never use an aluminum ladder near electrical equipment.

One way to prevent falls is to use a personal fall arrest system. These anchors bind the worker to a fixed object by using a safety harness, which the technician uses. A lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device connects the safety harness to a fixed object and anchor point. The anchorage point must be able to withstand 5,000 pounds of force. If the user loses balance and falls, the lifeline prevents him from falling to the ground. You can use a personal fall arrest system on a fixed ladder, roof, platform, walkway, or anywhere a technician works at a high altitude.

To recap: Practicing safety at work or home has always been a challenge for many. Always remember that safety is what keeps us going. Always stop and take a minute to re-inspect your tools, and never underestimate the weather before starting your day… stay safe!