To celebrate ladder safety month, now is the time to 1) review your ladder safety program, 2) conduct ladder safety training, and 3) test your ladder safety knowledge. The following outline provides an overview of using ladders properly.
- Climb a ladder by holding on to the rails and not the steps.
- Climb facing the ladder with your body centered between the rails.
- Use three points of contact, with at least three extremities attached to the ladder at all times.
- Do not twist your body while climbing.
- Do not climb with hands full of gear.
- Put any materials you need to take up a ladder into a tool bag/belt that you wear on your person.
- Use hand lines, hoists, or manlifts to lift and lower heavy objects.
- Fall protection must be worn based on the hazard assessment if you are working on scaffolding or on the roof of the building.
- Footwear with good support, non-slip soles, and free of mud, oil, and any other slippery debris is required when working on a ladder.
- Safety glasses or hardhats may be required for overhead work.
- Never stand on the top two steps.
- Fully open step ladders. Never use a stepladder in a partially-closed position.
- Ladders must have a spreader or locking device. Open and lock cross spreaders.
- Stepladders must not exceed 20 feet in height.
- Do not use ladders as a work platform.
- Keep the area around the bottom and top of the ladder free of debris.
- Allow only one person on a ladder at a time.
- Do not move or extend the ladder while occupied (i.e., no ladder jumping).
- Check the ladder for damage and defects before use. If damaged or defective, immediately remove the ladder from service and get rid of it.
- Get help when moving large ladders or working on uneven terrain.
For additional informtion, the American Ladder Institute (ALI) provides no cost ladder safety training for the workplace that aligns with OSHA's general industry ladder requirements. Click here to learn more about their program.