A ladder may be a common piece of equipment, but it must be utilized appropriately to be safe, which happens far less frequently than it should do. According to the World Health Organization, falls from ladders result in more than 164,000 emergency department visits and 300 fatalities in the United States each year, with the majority of the injuries occurring in the home. Even worse, you don’t have to fall very far to be seriously injured; most fatal falls occur from a height of 10 feet or less!
On the other hand, ladders are vital DIY items for a wide range of chores and tasks, from painting your home to cleaning your roofs to hanging Christmas decorations. Don’t become a victim; instead, keep yourself and others safe by avoiding the most dangerous mistakes you may make when using a ladder.
The construction of the ladder is the first step in ensuring its safety. Because ladders are available in various styles and materials with varying weight capabilities, using a ladder that is not appropriate for the environment or task at hand can increase the risk of injuries ranging from falls to electrocutions and other serious consequences. Consider the scope of the job, the surrounding surroundings, and the weight of the materials you’ll be transporting while up on the rungs.
A ladder can shut in on itself if the metal braces connecting the front and rear of the ladder are bent or if the locking system is not engaged in the absence of spreaders. This might cause you to be thrown forward or backward. To guarantee that your ladder remains open and that you remain aloft, press the spreaders all the way down until they are flat or engage the locking mechanism before stepping up.
When setting up your ladder on an uneven or slippery surface, such as a bed of gravel or dirt, a plastic sheeting, a recently waxed floor, or a wet road, take a moment to consider your options. When you change your weight around the rungs of the ladder, the feet at the base of the ladder may move, causing the ladder to slip out from under you. Ladders should only be put up on firm, level, non-slip surfaces that allow all of the feet to touch the ground or floor to provide the highest level of safety.
Placing the Ladder
In contrast to step-stool and A-frame ladders, extension ladders, which do not require a supporting structure to remain upright, must be pushed up against a structure such as a wall and then attached to upper support the structure before being used. However, if the angle between the ladder base and the wall is too steep — that is, if the ladder base is situated too near to the wall — the ladder may lean backward as you ascend the ladder.
When utilizing an extension ladder, remember to follow this formula. Move the ladder one foot away from the supporting structure to ensure a safe landing for every four feet of ladder length.
Because of the portability of ladders, they may be used almost anywhere, which means that ladder safety practices must be practiced everywhere as well. At work and at home, ladders are one of those pieces of equipment that are frequently utilized. When no one is looking, it can be simple to disregard or forget office regulations when no one is watching. When the perception of danger alters in a more comfortable home setting, it can be much easier to ignore or forget business protocols.
Point of Contact
An increasing number of do-it-yourselfers have climbed a ladder with both hands full of tools, gets thrown off balance, and maybe tumble down. Always maintain three points of contact with a ladder—either two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot—to sustain your balance, whether you’re going up, coming down, or standing on top of it.
For interior projects needing a lift of two to eight feet, step-stools, A-frames, and articulated ladders are the best options. An extension ladder or a larger articulated ladder for the outdoors is the most appropriate choice for projects requiring a lift of 13 feet or greater. On the other hand, choosing an incorrectly sized ladder for your height or project may induce you to stand on tiptoes or bend down to reach the work area, which may lead the ladder to become unstable and risk a fall. When looking for ladders, keep in mind that a person who is five feet six inches tall can only reach four feet higher than the ladder’s height. As a result, a four-foot ladder would be required to reach a surface eight feet above the ground.
To reach the desired work area, you’ve placed your ladder a little too much to the left or right of the planned work area, and you’re inclined to extend your arm or lean your body over the side rails of the ladder. That was a bad decision! Overextending yourself when on a ladder might cause it to topple over and send you tumbling to the ground. Position yourself on a ladder such that the buckle of your belt is between the rails while you are standing on the rungs. Instead of stretching, climb down and rearrange the steps to keep the ladder as secure as possible for your intended destination.
Not Keeping Tools On The Rungs
Even while it may appear to be easy to store that hammer or paint can on the rung above you, one false move and it might drop on top of you, causing a blow to the head. When working from a ladder, keep tools and supplies in tool trays that have been allocated for this purpose. Instead of a tool tray, you can store lightweight tools in a tool belt or use a ladder lift and a hoist used to transport goods up and down a ladder to raise and lower larger tools and materials up and down the ladder.
On every ladder, there should be a rung marked as the maximum safe standing level; going over that rung makes the ladder unsteady and increases the danger of falling.
As a general rule, avoid standing on the top cap (the highest platform of the ladder) or the two rungs immediately below it to keep your center of gravity lower and your stability intact. If you are unable to reach the work area comfortably, you will want a taller ladder.
The safety tips of using the ladder can be summed up in these smaller points. If you are unclear about the description up there, follow these points-
- Before using the ladder, make sure it is in good condition. Do not utilize a broken ladder to access higher levels.
- Clean the rungs, the ladder feet, and the gripping areas on the rungs and ladder feet.
- A sturdy platform should be provided for the ladder. Straight ladders should be tied at the top and bottom to keep them in place.
- In order to reach a higher level, use a straight ladder and raise it three feet above the height where you want to get off the ladder.
- When ascending or descending the ladder, keep your face towards the ladder.
- Do not stand on the platform at the top of a stairwell ladder.
- Tools, buckets, and other items should be secured to prevent tools from being dropped.
- When climbing the ladder, make sure that you and your tools are both well-balanced. Even better, have an assistance hand you tools, and wherever practical, utilize a tool lift device to hoist the tools.
- Maintain a minimum of three points of communication at all times.
We feel this will be helpful for your safety concerns!