Ladders: Safety Topics - March 2018 - Week 1


Monday - Fixed Access Ladders

Fixed access ladders are commonly found on sides of buildings or as a second exit in an emergency situation off mezzanines.

When using this type of ladder there are a few rules you should follow:

  • If you need to transport tools up to a working area, do not carry these tools on your person. Have some way to hoist tools up and down with ropes and proper rigging.
  • Always make sure to have on the proper footwear that is in good condition.
  • If working with others, always make sure they are clear and out of the way. Never have more than one person on the ladder at a time.
  • Always maintain THREE POINT contact. This means to have 2 feet and 1 hand or 2 hands and 1 foot on the ladder at all times.
  • Always face the ladder and feet firmly on rungs and grip rungs with your hands.
  • If the ladder is outside, make sure that it is clear of mud, ice, and snow.

Tuesday - Step Ladders

Step Ladders are commonly used for smaller tasks or kept where you may need to get things on shelving.

  • Always check the load rate of your ladder if you are going to be working off this ladder with tools. Ensure that your weight and the weight of the load is under the maximum weight the ladder can support.
  • NEVER work off the top rung of the ladder.
  • Always inspect the ladder before use for any damage or over usage, such as the loose rivets, cracks that may be in the rungs and frame. Check that it’s free from oils and grease making the rungs slippery and the locking mechanisms when opening are not bent and able to lock properly. Ensure the plastic feet on the bottom are not worn down or missing making the ladder unable to level on a flat surface.
  • Make sure when opening the ladder that is in locked position with the spreader bars before stepping on it.
  • Always place the ladder to the right working angles facing your work.

Wednesday - Extension Ladders

Extension ladders are used for high areas which you need to access such as getting onto a roof top, trimming trees, or maintenance on a side of a building.

They are not self-supporting and require that you use them against a stable structure that can hold the weight load you are using it for.

  • Always make sure that the ladder is on a firm level surface, you do not want to set your ladder up in mud or loose dirt. Once you add your load to the ladder, it may tip and become unleveled and cause you to fall or trip.
  • When placing the ladder against the supporting structure make sure it is always at a 75 degree angle from the ground.
  • While adjusting the ladder up and down, make sure to do this from ground level. NEVER adjust the ladder while standing on it or from the top of the ladder hanging over the side of the building.
  • Try to tie off the base of the ladder or stake it into the ground to make it secure from sliding out from you.
  • Maintain proper overlap of the ladders sections. Do not over extend the manufactures guidelines.
  • When applicable, always check your health, safety regulations, and codes. If you are going to be climbing to extreme heights, make sure you have the proper training and rigging to use this ladder.
  • Make sure to have someone trained in the proper usage of extension ladders to inspect it before use so that it is safe to use.
  • Set up warning signs when using a ladder in a doorway or passageway.

Thursday - Storage and Handling of Ladders

  • Store ladders in clean areas where they will not be damaged or sprayed with oils or water that can make them slippery or rust.
  • Make sure they are easily accessible and not awkward to get to.
  • Tie ladders to support points so they do not slip off.
  • Make sure to always use the lock out tag out procedure if you find a defective ladder.
  • Always carry the ladder by gripping in the middle of the rugs.
  • If the ladder is too heavy or awkward to carry alone, make sure to find someone to help you. When you have a partner make sure you are both on the same side of the ladder before transporting.
  • And always use caution when going through doors or passage ways for obstructed vision of what is on the other side. 

Friday - Free Speech Friday

Has there ever been a time you practiced dangerous behavior involving a ladder? What were the consequences, if any, of doing so? What did you do you do to correct the behavior? What advice would you give someone? What would you suggest for proper training and usage of ladders in your facilities?

Tags: safety topics , injury prevention , osha training basics ,

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