A ladder is an all-purpose, vertical set of incline rung or steps that allow a person to reach an elevated surface with ease. This equipment is often used in home and commercial buildings, usually to repair or clean areas at extreme heights. Because a ladder is often used to work at extreme heights, safety should be the number one priority.
There is a right way and a wrong way to use a ladder. To ensure safety, consider these basic tips when working at extreme height:
Basic Ladder Safety Dos
Do Set the Ladder on Dry, Clean, and Even Areas
Before setting the ladder up, you want to make sure the ground is free from obstructions that could cause the equipment to lose balance. This goes especially if you are using a ladder around power lines. Clear the area of unwanted debris such as rocks, and other debris below and overhead.
Do Keep 3 Points of Contact
If you are working at extreme height, you want to maintain your balance by maintaining three points of contact at all times. We cannot stress this enough; you want to keep your balance using your two feet, one hand or both hands throughout the duration of the job. By keeping the feet and hands balanced, there is little chance of being unstable while working at dizzying height. It also reduces the risk of a fall-related injury.
Do Climb the Right Way
When climbing the ladder, make sure you do it one-step at a time. Keep the foot firmly planted with every step and the hands holding the ladder’s frame. Do not use the ladder to work by sitting on the steps at a great height.
Do Ask Another Person for Help
It always helps if you have a buddy to give you a hand as you climb the ladder, especially if you are making repairs. The other person could hold the ladder to ensure a stable climb. He or she can also assist you as you do your job. And if an accident occurs, your buddy can call for help and apply first aid.
Basic Ladder Safety Don’ts
Do not Overload the Ladder
If you are carrying heavy loads, you need to check the maximum loading capacity of the ladder first. Never attempt to load more than what the ladder is capable of carrying or you are risking injuries. Under Federal law, all ladders are required to indicate the maximum weight capacity to ensure safety.
Do not Use on Slippery, Uneven Surface
To keep the ladder’s stability in check, never set it up on a slippery, still-wet, or uneven surface. Ideally, the ladder should be placed on a level surface free from debris. Setting the ladder on a slippery or wet surface increases the risk of injuries. The ladder could slip once you try climbing it.
Do not Move the Ladder While in Use
Never move a ladder when a person is on the top of it. If say, the ladder is in the wrong position and a user is on top of the ladder, wait until said user has climbed down before adjusting the ladder’s position. Moving the ladder while in use could lead to potentially fatal consequences!