Ladders come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. When used correctly, they make jobs easier. When used carelessly, workers are introduced to easily avoidable hazards. This is why keeping ladder safety top of mind is critical.
When in doubt, always check the OSHA website to ensure your roofing crew is in compliance with OSHA ladder requirements. This will reduce the risk of ladder accidents on the job site. In the meantime, following the steps below will keep you on the road to ladder safety.
Choose the Right Ladder
Using the wrong ladder is the leading cause of ladder accidents. Selecting the right ladder for the task is the first step in safety. First, check the weight of the ladder; it should weigh more than the worker and the tools the worker will be carrying. Next, choose the right material. For example, using an aluminum ladder during or near electrical work can be a dangerous hazard. Third, use the right height for each job. Lastly, the type of ladder should be appropriate for the job. If you need to lean against something for support, use an extension ladder.
Inspect All Ladders
Never skimp on ladder inspections. Ladders that are worn with cracked side rails and bent or broken rungs should be replaced. Labels should be legible and components such as latches, rivets, and bolts should be tight and in good condition. If they are worn or rigid, replace them immediately. These issues can be caught if you inspect ladders when you first receive them and after each use. Periodically, have them checked by a ladder inspector.
Set Up Ladders Properly
Ladder injuries also occur due to improper setup. When setting up a ladder, be attentive to the weight of the ladder, what is above you, and how close you are to an entryway. Ladders should also be set up on flat and dry surfaces and easy to see areas. If you must place them in areas that are potential blind spots, make sure the area is properly marked (i.e. cones, signs).
Climb Ladders Properly
To climb a ladder properly, always maintain three points of contact, avoid carrying ladders with tools and equipment, and never tie two ladders together to climb higher heights. Also, it’s important to always face the ladder as you climb and keep the center of your body between the side rails. If you cannot reach something, climb down to reposition the ladder to a closer location.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.