The 6 Rungs of the Safety Ladder

Ladder safety is probably not something most of us give much thought.  After all, a ladder is a fairly simple tool.  But the simplicity of this tool is exactly what makes it easy to take for granted.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries relating to ladders occur annually in the U.S.  That’s a lot of injuries involving such a simple tool.  Maybe we could all benefit from a review of ladder safety tips.

  1. Selecting the right ladder. Duty Rating is the maximum weight capacity of the ladder.  When deciding on the proper duty rating, remember to include the total weight that will be applied to the ladder including your weight (be honest), tools, materials and equipment.  There are four types of duty rating:
    • Type IA – 300 lb. capacity
    • Type I – 250 lb. capacity
    • Type II – 225 lb. capacity
    • Type III – 200 lb. capacity
  2. Proper length. Ladders should extend at least 3 feet above a roofline or work surface.  Never stand on the top three rungs of a straight/extension ladder, or the top two steps of a step ladder (as the person in our photo above is doing!) If you need it, get a longer ladder.
  3. Material. If you have to work anywhere near electrical lines, use a wood or fiberglass ladder instead of a metal ladder.
  4. Inspect the ladder. Before you start climbing the ladder, give it a quick inspection and look for:
    • Broken or damaged rails.
    • Loose, broken, or damaged rungs.
    • Missing slip-resistant feet.
    • Condition of ropes and pulleys on extension ladders.
    • Condition of rung locks.
    • Lose or damaged spreader braces.
  5. Set the ladder up properly. Place the ladder on firm, even ground. Make sure spreader braces or rung locks are locked in place. Straight or extension ladders should be set up at approximately a 75-degree angle. To check the angle, stand up straight with your toes touching the feet of the ladder. Extend your arms in front of you. Your palms should touch the rung that is at shoulder level. Don’t use a step ladder in a closed position.
  6. Climb safely.
    • Wear shoes with slip-resistant soles.
    • Maintain three points of contact (one hand, two feet or two hands, one foot) at all times while climbing.
    • Don’t lean over the side rails. If you are wearing a belt, the buckle should never extend past a side rail.
    • Don’t “walk” or move a ladder while on it. I know it takes longer, but you’re better off climbing down to move the ladder.

These are just a few tips on  using ladders safely.  What are some of your tips for ladder safety?  I’d love to hear them.

One Comment on “The 6 Rungs of the Safety Ladder

  1. Wow, so many injuries that can be avoided. These are such simple tips but yet I still see so many people leaning and trying to stretch rather than just moving the ladder. Thanks for the article!

    Like

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