Falls from ladders are a leading cause of workplace fatalities. By following the basic rules of ladder safety and having a fall prevention plan in place, serious accidents can be eliminated or substantially reduced.
Here are five basic rules for ladder safety.
It is important to choose a ladder that has the proper load capacity for the job. Consider your own weight as well as the weight of your equipment, tools and materials. The ladder must be long enough to work from without using the top 3 feet.
Ladder placement is important. When using a portable ladder, make sure it is placed on a level surface and that it has non-slip base pads. Protect the base of ladder with a barricade in high traffic areas. Be sure to lock or block any nearby doors that open toward you. If you’re using a stepladder, ensure that it is fully open before use.
A straight ladder should be placed at a four-to-one ratio, which means that the base should be 1 foot away from the wall or vertical surface for every 4 feet of height to the point of support. When climbing onto a roof or platform from a ladder, the ladder must extend at least 3 feet above the edge and be tied off at the top.
Stay near the middle and face the ladder while holding onto the side rails with at least one hand when climbing or descending. Carry your tools on a belt or hoist and always keep at least three limbs on the ladder. Look for overhead power lines before handling or climbing a ladder.
For easy reference, we’ve created this handy infographic on ladder safety.