The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 724,000 people are injured in a ladder-related accident each year. That’s nearly 2,000 each day.
More than 135,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for ladder-related injuries according to the National Safety Council.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ladder falls were responsible for 30 percent of disabling falls from height in the workplace in 2011.
Multiple studies report that more than 330 people die each year from ladder accidents.
As dangerous and deadly as working on a ladder can be, ladder safety is one of those things most people take for granted. When you have to clean out the gutters or cut high branches from trees on your property, just grab the nearest ladder and start climbing. When you’re at work and you have to inspect a roof or replace a window, just grab the nearest ladder.
There’s more to ladder safety than knowing that you shouldn’t walk under one. While that’s actually good advice, we need to get beyond old superstition and use ladders safely at home and on the job.
The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) offers a comprehensive list of best practices for using portable ladders, which include step, straight, combination and extension ladders. Here are some simple do’s and don’ts that will help to keep you and others safe when using a ladder.
The Do’s of Ladder Safety
· Read labels and markings on the ladder and pay attention to what they say.
· Inspect the ladder for damage before using it.
· Watch for electrical hazards, like overhead power lines and exposed electrical equipment, and avoid using metal ladders in these cases.
· Maintain a three-point contact on the ladder when climbing – two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand.
· Keep your body in the middle of the rungs when climbing
· Use ladders for what they were designed to do. Ladders aren’t scaffolds or platforms.
· Place the ladder on a firm, flat surface.
· The distance between the base of the ladder and the vertical surface should be one quarter of the working height of the ladder. For example, if you’re climbing onto a 12-foot roof, the base of the ladder should be three feet from the wall to create a safe support angle.
· Secure, test and double check all locks on an extension ladder.
The Don’ts of Ladder Safety
· Don’t face away from the ladder when climbing down. It’s a ladder, not a staircase.
· Don’t use a step ladder or folding ladder in a partially closed position to fit into a tight space.
· Don’t stand on the top step or rung of a step ladder unless the label says this is safe. Most labels say that you shouldn’t stand on the top step or rung.
· Don’t stand on the top three rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder when climbing onto a high surface. The ladder should extend three feet above the point of support.
· Don’t place a ladder on top of another object, like a box, table or chair, as a way to reach a higher point.
· Don’t move a ladder while someone or something is on it. Hopping while on a ladder can be deadly.
· Don’t exceed a ladder’s maximum load rating. Consider not only the person climbing the ladder, but also any equipment that will be used on the ladder.
Dasan Building Group has developed its own set of safety programs for a variety of tasks and equipment use. Our safety programs, including ladder safety, exceed industry standards to protect our employees, your tenants and your investment.
If you use a ladder on the job and your employer doesn’t have a ladder safety program, or you plan to tackle home improvement projects that require a ladder, please follow these do’s and don’ts based on OSHA guidelines and stay safe!