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.

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