Ladder Safety In 10 Easy Steps

Anyone who works in construction knows that falls are the number one cause of accidents and injuries. An alarming statistic, however is that, according to the most recent information from the CDC, 43% of fatal falls in the last decade involved ladders. In many of these cases, proper ladder usage could have prevented deaths from falls. With that in mind, here are 10 ways to ensure safety when using ladders:
 
1) Allow only one person at a time on a ladder unless the ladder is specifically designed for two people.
 
2) Do not leave tools or materials on top of ladders. If they fall on you, you can be hurt. If they fall on someone else, your company can be sued.
 
3) Never push or pull anything sideways while on a ladder. This puts a side load on the ladder and can cause it to tip out from under you.
 
4) Never use metal ladders around exposed electrical wiring. Metal ladders should be marked with tags or stickers reading "CAUTION-Do Not Use Around Electrical Equipment" or similar wording. RULE of THUMB: If the overhead power line is 50 kV or less, then stay at least 10 feet away. For everything else, keep at least 35 feet away.
 
5) Do not try to move a ladder while you are on it by rocking, jogging or pushing it away from a supporting wall.
 
6) When using a ladder where there is traffic, erect warning signs or barricades to guide traffic away from the foot of the ladder. If this is not possible, have someone hold and guard the bottom of the ladder.
 
7) Never use a ladder when under the influence of alcohol, on drugs or medication, or in ill health.
 
8) If you get sick, dizzy or panicky while on a ladder, do not try to climb down in a hurry. Wait. Drape your arms around the rungs; rest your head against the ladder until you feel better. Then climb down slowly and carefully.
 
9) Never use a ladder on a scaffold platform. If you need to reach higher, the scaffold should be higher.
 
10) Never use a ladder as a horizontal platform, plank, scaffold or material hoist.