As spring and summer arrive, a lot of men are digging the ladder out of the garage and doing work on the gutters, windows, roof — you name it. It’s a handy tool, but also one of the most dangerous. Every year, there are over 90,000 emergency room cases related to ladders, and innumerable more that aren’t treated in hospitals. Surprisingly, ladder-related injuries have increased by 50% in the last 10 years, and yet OSHA believes that 100% of injuries can be prevented with proper attention to safety. Even if it seems onerous, always use an abundance of caution when working on ladders.
Setting up ladder
– Keep ladder away from any door that can be opened out into it.
– Double check that any locks or braces which stabilize the ladder are secured.
– If using a straight ladder, be sure its base is a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall.
– Always place ladder on a steady, even base. Do not place ladder on any other surface except the ground. Use a spotter if necessary.
– Always maintain 3 points of contact on the ladder: 2 feet and a hand or 2 hands and a foot.
– Keep feet near the middle of the step and always face towards the ladder.
Working on ladder
– Do not use top rung or top of ladder as a step. Use a ladder that extends 3 feet beyond the work area.
– Be aware of the load rating on a ladder. Include any tools you’re using as well as your own body weight when calculating.
– While working, keep your body between the rails rather than leaning.