The use of ladders whether at work or at home can be a very helpful tool. However this is one of the most commonly misused tools in either location. Falls from ladders are a large contributor to injuries not only in Canada but North America as a whole.
- Before using a ladder, inspect it for faults, such as broken rungs or rails. If it is an extension ladder, inspect the pulleys, ropes and locks for excessive wear. Also, check the footings and pads to make sure they still provide a non-skid surface. If any defect is found, the ladder should be tagged unsafe and taken out of service.
- When setting up a ladder, make sure the ground it is set upon is level and stable. Do not use any material to raise the height of the ladder. If it is not tall enough, you are using the wrong ladder.
- The ladder should reach a minimum of three feet above the “point of support” and should be secured at this point.
- When using extension ladders, abide by the 1:4 rule.
- When using a stepladder, make sure the folding cross braces are locked in the proper position before you step onto it.
- Always face the ladder when ascending or descending, and have both hands free to grasp it securely. If you need tools, they should be carried in a tool belt or pulled up with a rope once you have reached your destination.
- Remember the “3-Point Rule”: At least two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, should be in contact with the ladder at all times.
- Do not climb higher than the third rung from the top on straight or extension ladders or the second tread from the top on stepladders.
- Is there electrical components/systems present at or near the work location and as a result are fiberglass ladders required.
- When accessing or egressing scaffolding ladders only one person shall be on the ladder at any time.
- When using an extension ladder or step ladder on elevated work platforms always ensure you have an adequate fall protection system and use an anchor point above your head.
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