Just how important is ladder safety? Very. According to the National Safety Council’s statistics, ladders are one of the major causes of fall-related fatalities. In any given year, approximately 65,000 individuals receive emergency treatment due to ladder accidents.
Keep in mind that most falls from ladders happen at ten feet or less from the ground and usually when descending.
- When selecting a ladder, consider the type of work it will be used for, the condition of the ladder, and the weight the ladder must carry. Make sure that the weight rating will support the weight of the worker, plus tools and materials.
- Keep in mind that the physical length of the ladder is different from its usable length. Make sure that the ladder is long enough or tall enough for the job.
- Never stand on the top step of a ladder or on the top three rungs of straight or extension ladders.
- Examine the ladder for any defects or features that can potentially be dangerous.
- Safeguard your ladders by storing them where they are protected from the weather or other potential source of damage.
Remember, the key to preventing accidents is to take proper precautions. Always follow the instructions accompanying ladders, properly set up the ladders, and use good sense while working on ladders.
More information is available at the following links:
- RS Safety Library – Ladders section.
- RS SafetyTV for ladder videos.
- SAFEME has a training module on ladders.
Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].