Watch Your Step – Ladder Safety

Each year, many workers in Washington State are seriously injured from falling off ladders at work. These injuries include dislocated limbs, broken bones and head injuries. In a few cases, workers haven died from their injuries. These accidents occur because:

  • The ladder moves, falls over or is set up improperly.
  • The worker slips on the rungs, overreaches or carries objects while climbing the ladder.
  • The worker stands on the top cap of the ladder.
  • The ladder being used is not in good condition.

Safety First
Prevent mishaps at work or home, by following these ladder safety tips:

  • Carefully inspect the ladder for defects, checking for cracks, corrosion, and that bolts and rivets are secure. Tag and remove unsafe ladders from service.
  • Make sure the ladder’s feet work properly and have slip-resistant pads.
  • Use a fiberglass ladder if there is any chance of contact with electricity.
  • When setting the ladder, look for a safe location with firm, level footing and rigid support for the top of the ladder. Be sure to set it at an angle per the Ladder Rulesmanufacturer’s guidance.
  • When climbing off a ladder at an upper level, make sure the ladder extends three feet above the landing.
  • When climbing the ladder, use three points of contact – keep one hand and both feet or both hands and one foot in contact with the ladder at all times.
  • Never carry any load that could cause you to lose balance.
  • Never stand on top of a ladder.
  • Don’t pull, lean, stretch or make sudden moves on a ladder that could cause it to tip over.
  • Avoid setting the ladder near exit doors, near the path of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
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