Ladder & Step-Ladder Safety

Our profession requires us to work frequently on ladders and stepladders.  Extreme care must be taken by you and your employees when climbing and working from ladders .  OSHA has very stringent guidelines and it’s important that we preach and teach safety to our employees.

We all get in a hurry and sometimes tend to put safety aside.   Ultimately, this can lead to injuries and increased workers comp insurance costs.  Below, I have listed several safety points you should continually stress with your employees and practice yourself.

  • All ladders are to be maintained in good condition and problems or safety concerns reported immediately.
  • All ladders are to have nonslip safety feet.
  • Rungs and steps are kept free of grease & oil.
  • Ladders must not be placed in front of doors opening toward them except when the door is blocked open, locked or guarded.
  • Do not place ladders on boxes, barrels, or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
  • You must face the ladder when ascending or descending.
  • Damaged ladders should be turned in immediately for repair or replacement – DO NOT USE THEM.
  • Do not use the top step of ordinary stepladders as a step.
  • Portable rung ladders used to gain access to elevated platforms, roofs, etc. are always extended at least three (3) feet above the elevated surface.
  • Step ladders are not to be used to access rooftops.
  • When portable rung or cleat type ladders are used, the base is placed so that slipping will not occur, or it is lashed or otherwise held in place.
  • It is prohibited to use ladders as braces, skids, gin poles or for anything other than their intended purpose.
  • Extension ladders are to be adjusted only while standing at a base (not while standing on or above the ladder).
  • When climbing a ladder at least one hand must grasp the rungs or sides for support.
  • Do not climb higher than the third rung from the top of ladders.
  • Ladders should be set at the proper angle.  Fixed ladders should be up to 75 degrees.  Others should be set out at the base a distance of about one-quarter the working length of the ladder.
  • Always place ladder so that the side rails have secure footing.
  • Use only the side of a step ladder designed for stepping on.
  • Ladders should be placed on stable level surfaces.  If not they must be braced otherwise.
  • Areas around the top and bottom of the ladder must be kept clear.
  • While in use, a ladder should never be moved, shifted or extended.
  • The load capacity of a ladder should never be exceeded.

You may want to consider printing this, discussing it and passing copies out to employees and have them sign off on receipt and understanding of it.

Why Safety Is So Important

By: Ed Hoff

Companies that employ workers have an interest in keeping the workplace safe. Job-related injuries are something that responsible employers avoid. They take the time and use company resources to make sure that the people who come to work each day are safe.

They may offer on-the-job safety training or have safety procedures included in their company policies. In some workplaces, a person or a group of workers are designated as the company safety team. These people are responsible for ensuring that the premises are in compliance with safety regulations set by law.

Not only does this make good sense from a moral standpoint, but it also makes good financial sense. If a worker is injured on the job, it costs the company in terms of lost man hours, increased insurance costs, workers’ compensation premiums, and legal costs.

Productivity is lost when other workers have to stop doing their job to deal with the situation. Even after the injured worker has been sent home or taken to hospital, other employees may be distracted or need to take time off from work in the aftermath of the incident.

Investing in a good safety program such as OSHA’s “SHARP” program brings with it other benefits too. When employees feel safe in the workplace and absenteeism rates are kept down, they can focus on serving the company’s customers properly. Many companies offer products or services that are similar to those that other companies carry or provide. Customers will decide which companies they want to deal with based on which one they feel provides the best customer service. Increased absenteeism means longer wait times and customers are quite prepared to move on to another company they feel will be able to help them in a more timely manner if they are not getting the level of attention that they deserve.

That, in a nutshell, is why safety is so important in the workplace. Workers want to do their jobs in a safe environment so that they can concentrate on doing the best job possible. Responsible employers understand that a safe workplace improves the company’s bottom line. There are advantages to running the business in a safe manner, no matter which way you look at it. To do otherwise would simply be irresponsible.

GHS Brings Big Changes to Safety Data Sheets

by: Dionte Gilmer

From MSDS to SDS – GHS Brings Big Changes to Safety Data Sheets Material safety data sheet (MSDS) has been the back-bone of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). As most safety professionals know by now, the Hazard Communication Standard has been revised by OSHA to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), the result of which will include substantial changes to the MSDS. Below is a list of the major changes to the HazCom Standard Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided. Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format. Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding. Air-Care has complied with the training deadline and updated its MSDS sheets to SDS sheets as suggested by GHS and will be available for download at