March is National Ladder Safety month.
Ladders are one of the most convenient and common tools in the workplace. From step stools to extension ladders they provide a safe platform for working at heights when used correctly. If misused or mistreated, ladders are also one of the most unforgiving items.
Take time to review these ladder safety practices.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT LADDER: Always select a ladder which is the correct length to safely reach the working height. Also ensure that the ladder is of the correct duty or weight rating. The combined weight of the user, their tools and materials should NEVER exceed the rating of the ladder.
CHECK THE LADDER’S CONDITION: Inspect your ladder for split or cracked side rails, missing or broken rungs, loose rungs or other weaknesses.
PLACE THE LADDER WITH YOUR SAFETY IN MIND: Make sure the ladder has firm footing and that its feet are one-quarter the length of the ladder away from the upright surface to be climbed. If you are using a step ladder, make sure it is fully open with the spreaders properly locked.
CLIMB THE LADDER CAREFULLY: Always face the ladder and use both hands when climbing up or down. Don't carry your tools or materials: raise and lower them with a hand line: don't have someone toss them up to you or just drop them when you are finished. Always climb and work from the center of the ladder. Don't climb up the "back" side of a step ladder and never stand on the top of it.
DON’T OVERREACH! If you can’t reach where you need to work, descend and reposition the ladder.
Following simple ladder safety rules such as these will help to ensure that you or your fellow workers are never injured while using a ladder. Visit RMS's Ladders and Scaffolds web page for complete program information.