"Falls are the leading cause of death in construction and every year, falls from ladders make up nearly a third of those deaths. These deaths are preventable. Falls from ladders can be prevented and lives can be saved by following safe work practices."
Do I Need a Ladder?
In order to answer this simple question, first you must ask yourself the following questions (as indicated by OSHA):
- Will I have to hold heavy items while on the ladder?
- Is the elevated area high enough that it would require a long ladder that can be unstable?
- Will I be working from this height for a long time?
- Do I have to stand on the ladder sideways in order to do this work?
According to OSHA, if the answer to any of these questions is a "Yes," then you may want to revisit the idea and consider using something other than a ladder (scissor lift, scaffolding, etc.)
Choosing the Right Ladder for the Job
- Ensure the ladder is high enough for you to reach your work area without having to stand on the top rung.
- When using ladders to access another level, secure and extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the landing point to provide a safe handhold.
- The base of the ladder should be secured.
- Wear proper footwear
- Place the ladder on stable and level ground. DO NOT place it on an uneven surface.
- Ensure that the ladder is fully extended before starting work.
- Prevent passersby from walking under or near ladders in use by using barriers or getting your coworker to act as a lookout.
- Do not work on the top rung of the ladder.
- Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times.
- Do not carry any tools or materials in your hands when climbing a ladder.
- Do not lean away from the ladder to carry out your task. Always keep your weight centered between the side rails.
- Do not use ladders near doorways. If you need to use a ladder near a doorway, make sure that the door is locked.
- is faulty.
- is bent.
- is missing a step.
- has spreader bars that do not have a locking device or mechanism.