Whether at home or work, ladders are used by many people as a safe means to access overhead objects or perform maintenance. Although ladders can provide a safer way to access overhead objects, there are multiple risks associated with their use.
Use the following tips to prevent ladder hazards (NSC 2020):
- Consider the distance and elevation of the area you are trying to access before using any ladder.
- Your weight combined with the weight of equipment and tools needs to be calculated collectively when understanding the weight limitations for ladders.
- Use ladders made from non-conductive fiberglass material if performing electrical work.
- Make sure ladders are placed on a firm, solid, and dry surface.
- For every 4 feet that an extension ladder is erected, make sure the base of the ladder is 1 foot away from the resting surface.
- Make sure the ladder is fully extended before use.
- Perform a self-health assessment before climbing a ladder to make sure you are fit for duty. Do not climb a ladder if you are ill.
- Wear slip resistant shoes or boots with a defined heel while using ladders.
- Identify and barricade the impacted work area to prevent unauthorized work-area access.
- Always face the ladder directly when climbing onto a ladder.
- Maintain three points of contact while using a ladder.
- If using an extension ladder, make sure the top of the ladder extends 3 feet beyond the roof or platform you are trying to reach.
- Do not lean or overreach while using a ladder.
- Do not carry equipment/tools while climbing up or down a ladder. Use a tool belt to secure your tools.
- Ladder inspection should be performed prior to each use to identify potential damage. Ladder inspection guidance is provided at: https://home.trihydro.com/safety/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc=/safety/Documents/Ladder%20Inspection%20Form.doc&action=default.
National Safety Council (NSC). 2020. Ladder Safety One Rung at a Time. Available from: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/safety-checkup/ladders