Step Up for Ladder Safety
National Ladder Safety Month spotlights how you can prevent ladder accidents
According to the American Ladder Institute (ALI), every year more than 300 fatalities in ladder-related accidents. Thousands more suffer disabling injuries. That’s why the ALI has declared March National Ladder Safety Month – the organization wants to raise awareness of ladder safety. As you plan ahead for the coming month, consider using March as a time to emphasize ladder safety among your workers.
Ladder-related citations are frequently among the top 10 most frequently cited safety violations, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), currently ranking number 7 overall. Make sure you’ve created a safe work environment in your facility for ladder safety.
Observe National Ladder Safety Month with these tips
Review the basic requirements
Here’s a basic overview of what’s required for all ladders.
- Maintain ladders free of oil, grease, and other slip hazards.
- Do not load ladders beyond their maximum intended load or 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.
- Secure ladders placed in areas such as doorways or passageways or where they can be displaced by workplace activities or traffic. 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 they are 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, and maintain three points of contact—for example, two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand—with the steps, rungs, and/or side rails of the ladder at all times.
- 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.
Educate your workers
Proper training for your staff can help drive these ladder safety guidelines home, so be sure to schedule a session that reinforces proper ladder usage. To ensure safer ladder usage, be sure to emphasize these points:
- Ladder Inspection
- Precautionary measures
- Proper maintenance & Storage
- Correct usage
Make sure your ladders are maintained and the right ones
Providing your worker with ladders that meet or exceed the ANSI and OSHA standards is just as important as education for overall ladder safety. Ladders lacking in the safety specifics and guidelines may be cheaper, but their failure to provide safe capacity and reach can lead to future incidents you don’t want.