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Ladder Safety

Cowlitz County Hall of Justice
February 8, 2018
Dylan Wike – March 2018
March 13, 2018

"Workman in reflective vest and hard hat climbing a ladder, slight motion blur on the man."

“Workman in reflective vest and hard hat climbing a ladder, slight motion blur on the man.”

Falls from portable ladders are one of the leading causes of occupational injuries and fatalities. In fact, ladder fall injuries are a significant hazard both on the job and at home. In the U.S., more than 500,000 people per year are treated for ladder-related injuries, and about 300 people die.

Incorrect extension ladder setup angles: People tend to set extension ladders at shallower angles than they should. The result can be a bad fall because the ladder base slides out. Follow the 4-to-1 rule.
Inappropriate ladder selection: To avoid structural failure, you need to select a ladder with the proper duty rating (weight limit).
Insufficient ladder inspection: Regularly maintain and inspect every ladder you use. Look for loose joints; rungs and rails that are slippery, damaged, or cracked; and other problems. Tag damaged ladders and take them out of use.
Improper ladder use: Use a ladder as it was intended, watch your step, and don’t engage in dangerous behavior like overreaching, carrying objects as you climb, or “hopping” a ladder into a new position while you’re standing on it.
Lack of access to ladder safety tools and information: Read the labels and warnings on the rails of the ladder. Pay attention during safety training. If you still have questions about which ladder to choose, or how to safely use, inspect, or maintain it, talk with your supervisor.

Choose the right ladder for the job. Consider the material. Ladders can be made of wood, fiberglass, or aluminum. If you will be working anywhere near electricity or power lines, never use an aluminum ladder because aluminum conducts electricity; fiberglass is the best choice. Be sure to select a ladder that is really long enough to reach the work. Remember that you should never stand on either of the top two steps .Get a ladder that will support the load safely. Ladders have very specific weight limits. They range from a Type III, light-duty, household ladder with a duty rating of 200 pounds, to a Type IAA, extra-heavy duty industrial ladder that will support 375 pounds. Make sure you include the weight of your tools!

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