How To Prevent Ladder Falls? – Ladder Safety Tips
Ladder falls are surprisingly common in the US. It is estimated that ladder-related injuries kill three workers almost every week and leave 50 more injured each day. Interestingly, many workers are at risk of falling from ladders, the most common injuries being strains, back pain, and sprains.
Since many occupations require getting on a ladder multiple times a day, employees may disregard it as a potential job hazard which means they don’t take ladder safety seriously. However, the more frequently you use a ladder, the higher the risk of injuries or falls. Studies have demonstrated that workers happen to be more prone to abuse and misuse of ladders which is why they are prone to injuries. That’s why OSHA has established a couple of safety standards and regulations to eliminate, if not prevent, ladder-related accidents.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported over 30,000 emergency room cases caused by falling from a ladder in 2013. If you have ever stood on a ladder and seen how it slips from literally under your feet, you can understand the trauma associated with falling from it. If anything, things can go wrong quickly.
This article will go over a few ways to prevent ladder falls.
Start By Choosing the Right Ladder for the Job
You will want to choose a ladder that’s best suited for the job. Please read the label on the ladder’s side rail, which indicates its total weight load and classification. The label helps you use the ladder properly.
The label will also recommend a safe working height, above which you shouldn’t go. The markings need to be in place and visible as per OSHA standards. If not, then you have the wrong ladder, meaning you can’t work on the ladder safely.
Refrain from Overreaching to Prevent Ladder Related Injuries
One of the most common safety blunders is overreaching. A step ladder will collapse, or an extension ladder will slide sideways on the surface if you try to overreach. The resulting injuries can and often are severe, with some instances of the injuries being deadly.
Overreaching is defined as moving your shoulder over the ladder’s middle line. OSHA guidelines highlight overreaching as being extremely dangerous. However, this issue can be further compounded by worn or damaged ladders.
Ensure Three Points of Contact at All Times to Prevent Ladder Accidents
When climbing up a ladder to work on it, make sure that you have three points of contact at all times. It will often entail both feet and hands. However, if the activity requires that both hands be used, then a scissor lift or scaffold.
Always Face the Ladder When Working on It
Make sure that your body is always oriented in the direction of the ladder when working on it. Turning, twisting, and bending will lead you to lose balance and fall. You are at particularly high risk when on non-self-supporting ladders.
One Person Per Ladder
It would help if you didn’t have multiple people or workers on a single ladder simultaneously. I can potentially throw everyone off balance and put all those on the ladder at risk. This applies to a large self-supporting ladder too.
There are many extension ladders in various sizes and shapes, but each has its own set of limitations. However, they should always extend three feet above the top of the building’s ledge. You will need two people to up the ladder correctly.
When a ladder gets snagged on a branch or blasted by the wind, it results in ergonomic injuries. So, the ladder’s base should be at such an angle from the wall for every four feet of height. Buy a ladder with flats on the rugs to form the right angle, offering the safest way to work on it. You should check the label on the side rail to use it correctly.
Climb With Both Your Hands
You always want to use both hands when climbing up a ladder. Equipment, tools, and other stuff can be pulled up using a tool belt. In addition, tethering devices can also be used for portable power solutions for powered tools like a drill or electric screwdriver. Having your hands free will help you avoid falling, in addition, it helps you avoid being dumped from the ladder. Cords from power tools are one of the reasons for falls from ladders.
Inspect The Condition of Your Ladder(s)
You will want to address issues like missing labels, damage, hardware, non-skid pads, cleats, pulleys, etc., on all ladders.
You will also want to get your fixed vertical ladders checked regularly. OHSA updated its requirements for safety equipment for these ladders.
Regular inspections can help you uncover flaws, anomalies, and dangers that could compromise a person’s safety. Ladders should regularly be examined for apparent issues and not used despite issues.
Even though a metal ladder is generally more durable that does not mean it shouldn’t be inspected. If a ladder exceeds its shelf life, using it can become dangerous, regardless of if it’s made from metal or wood.
Finally – Use the Lock Jaw Ladder Grip
Finally, we’d recommend that every professional who needs to work on a ladder invest in the Lock Jaw Ladder Grip. Created by Robert and Craig Charlton, the father and son duo, The Lock-Jaw Ladder Grip has saved many people from injuries stemming from ladder accidents.
The tool is ruggedly built and extensively tested to ensure that it meets the highest quality standards. Designing and testing the tool took several hundred hours, trial and error, but the results are worth it. The quality of the Lock Jaw Ladder Grip is excellent, and it’s straightforward to use.
The Lock-Jaw Ladder Grip works by securing and stabilizing the ladder to a gutter, allowing workers to work efficiently. The grip uses a patented rubber padded adjustable jaw mechanism, which allows the tool to lock onto the gutter while protecting it from potential damage.
Even a static load of 220lbs does not cause the ladder to move, making it ideal for those who need to work with heavy items.