Ladders are tools, just like any other item you use for home construction and maintenance. Many of the basic ladder safety tips that apply to other tools, such as saws, power drills, sanders, etc., also apply to the safe use of a ladder. At Roof Crafters if you are trying to do a project yourself, we want to see you use good safety and finish the project in one piece.
To ensure you are using a ladder safely, follow these tips:
In order to practice ladder safety tips, it is recommended to use the three points of contact climb. Most falls from ladders occur as a result of haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, poor condition of the ladders, the climber’s physical condition and the climber’s footwear. This simple checklist can reduce your chances of falling by:
Three points of contact will help minimize the chances of slipping and falling. This means that at all times throughout the ascent, descent and time spent on the ladder, you face the ladder and have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder. That way, you always have a steady grip on the ladder. Be sure that your hands aren’t carrying items — that doesn’t count as a point of contact, and the chances of falling are increased.
The idea of climbing a ladder can be scary for some people. Many homeowners opt out of it altogether in order to leave things like gutter cleaning and holiday decorating to the pros. But if you’re into DIY projects or you need to climb up to change a lightbulb or something simple, make sure you use these ladder safety tips to ensure your safety.
Different projects require different types of ladders. Think about what you need to do in order to choose the right size and style of ladder, and make sure you follow the directions on the ladder before you start to climb. Consider these questions:
Once you’ve chosen a ladder, always place it on a firm, solid surface to avoid slips and follow these guidelines:
Even if you use ladders often, never get sloppy about climbing. Make sure you are mindful of what you are doing every time you step onto a ladder.
Weather is always a factor when using ladders outside. Even if the weather seems calm when you first go up, be mindful of how it is changing during your project. Don’t use extension ladders when it’s windy or rainy. If bad weather hits, carefully climb down immediately. And clean your ladder every time to make sure it doesn’t get dirt built up on it, which can become slippery later.
According to Injury Facts 2016, nearly 20,000 people were injured and 133 died due to falls from a ladder or scaffolding at work. Workers in the construction industry are most at risk. Of all occupational injuries, falls are the No. 2 leading cause of death next to highway crashes. Fatal falls to a lower level usually involve injuries to the head or multiple body parts.
To bring greater attention to this problem, the National Safety Council supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in its Fall Safety Stand-Down. For more information on ladder safety at work, visit OSHA’s website.