Falls from ladders are a leading cause of workplace fatalities. Ladder safety training can help to prevent these accidents.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established ladder standards and regulations. However, if you don’t know the rules, there are five common errors that can lead to ladder-related injuries.
1. Inspect the Ladder
Ladders are a vital part of many work tasks fixed ladder safety, yet they can cause serious injury if they are not inspected correctly. To avoid this, ladder inspection checklists should be used by both workers and safety managers before each use.
To ensure ladders are properly inspected, the inspection process should include visual and physical checks of different parts of the ladder. These checks should be carried out before each use and also after changes in the location or task of the ladder.
Ideally, the ladder should be inspected once every 3 to 6 months but if it is being used for high-intensity tasks, the inspection should occur more frequently. This is according to guidelines from both the United States and the UK.
2. Maintain Three Points of Contact
Maintaining three points of contact is a ladder safety technique that can help you stay stable and reduce your risk of a fall. This involves having one hand and one foot securely in contact with the ladder rungs or side rails at all times while climbing up or down it.
In addition, the ladder should be positioned on level and firm ground. It should also have an appropriate load rating, which refers to the weight of anything you need to carry on it.
Keeping this in mind can save you from serious injuries that could lead to workers’ compensation claims. It can also make it easier to identify areas in your workplace where employees are not following ladder safety guidelines.
3. Don’t Overreach
One of the most important things to keep in mind when working on a ladder is not overreaching. This can be dangerous because it can lead to a fall or injury.
Overreaching is when a person tries to reach too high while standing on a ladder. It can also happen when a person moves their ladder while they are still on it, instead of getting down and repositioning it first.
This can cause people to lose their balance and fall, as well as break bones, cuts, or head injuries. This is why it’s so crucial to follow ladder safety guidelines at all times.
4. Don’t Carry Items
Ladders are commonly used for many tasks, but falls from ladders are a common cause of workplace injuries. These accidents are preventable, but OSHA requires employers to provide proper training on ladder safety in their workplaces.
Carrying items on a ladder, such as tools or paint cans, can lead to falls and injuries. It’s always better to safely store these materials in designated tool trays or tool belts until you’re ready to use them.
Also, make sure that you’re using the right ladder for the task at hand, with the correct weight capacity. Different ladders have different duty ratings that indicate the maximum weight that they can handle without structural failure.
5. Don’t Shift Your Weight
One of the most dangerous mistakes people make when using a ladder is shifting their weight while they’re on it. This can tip a ladder over or cause it to move.
To prevent this from happening, always keep your body in between the rails of the ladder. This way, your center of gravity stays where it should be and you’re less likely to fall off.
Another mistake people often make when climbing a ladder is leaning too far to one side of the ladder. This can send you tumbling off the ladder and could even lead to a serious injury or death.