Ladders are so commonplace at work, home and in vehicles that it can be easy to forget they can cause serious injuries. But if you use ladders correctly, they can be a safe and effective tool.
Using ladders safely can reduce the risk of injury and improve worker productivity. Learn the 10 other safety rules for using a ladder to help keep you safe.
1. Don’t lean or reach away from the ladder.
When you lean or reach away from the ladder, it makes the ladder unstable and puts you at risk of falling. This is especially important when using step rolling safety ladders. You should never stand on the top rungs or step of the ladder.
2. Keep your body centered on the ladder.
It’s easy to overreach while climbing or working on a ladder. That’s why it is important to always keep your body centered on the ladder at all times.
This means maintaining three points of contact — two hands and one foot, or two hands and the other foot if the user is using a personal fall protection system.
3. Maintain three points of contact.
The three points of contact rule is one of the most important safety rules when using a ladder. It means that you should have two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder at all times while climbing or descending.
This helps to increase your stability and ensures that you don’t fall off the ladder. It also reduces the risk of slipping or falling backwards.
4. Don’t overload the ladder.
Ladders are useful tools for accessing heights, but they can pose serious safety risks if not set up and used correctly.
It is vital to follow health and safety guidance to ensure you work safely at height. These include the 4 to 1 (75 degrees) ladder angle rule, along with other vital control measures and safety practices.
5. Don’t carry items while climbing.
When climbing a ladder, never carry anything in your hands. This can cause you to lose balance and fall.
It is also important not to stack blocks of wood beneath the foot of the ladder, as this may cause the foot to slip and potentially lose traction.
6. Don’t place the ladder on boxes or barrels.
Using a ladder on boxes or barrels to obtain additional height increases the risk of it tipping. Place it on a stable base for all uses.
Ladders should not be used to work on walls or other ceilings. This could lead to falls and serious injuries.
7. Don’t place the ladder in high-traffic areas.
When using a ladder, it is important to place the base on a solid surface away from hallways, passageways, doorways or heavy traffic areas.
Ladders can become dislodged when placed in these areas and result in injuries to the user.
8. Don’t work off the top three rungs.
Ladders are an essential tool for some jobs but shouldn’t be used as the only means of access. Consider alternatives such as toolbelts, shoulder bags or hoisting up tools and supplies afterwards.
Always inspect the ladder before using it. If it isn’t safe to use, replace it immediately with a new one.
9. Don’t work off the bottom three rungs.
Ladders are a basic DIY tool that’s essential to so many projects and tasks. But they also pose serious safety risks.
Falls from ladders are among the leading causes of injury and death in the United States. Learn how to avoid them with these simple ladder safety rules.
10. Don’t work off the top three rungs.
Using ladders correctly is crucial to prevent serious injuries. In fact, a quarter of all falls from height involve ladders.
When working from a ladder, do not work off the top three rungs. This applies to both short-duration work from ladders, and to ladders used for access (such as scaffolds).