Ladders are one of the most common pieces of equipment found at a construction site. But did you know that falls from elevated surfaces are one of the most common accidents in the construction industry?
These types of accidents are typically the result of failing to follow basic ladder safety. To help avoid such accidents, let’s take a look at some ladder safety tips.
It is important to choose the correct type of ladder for the job. Both length and duty rating should be considered. The proper length for a ladder extends a minimum of three feet over the working surface or roofline.
- Rung dogs
- Safety feet
- Other parts
Be sure that the work area is clear of debris or obstructions. Check that ladders are only placed in front of doors that have been guarded, locked, or blocked.
If you are working near electrical equipment or power lines, make sure that only wooden or fiberglass ladders are used, since metal ladders will conduct electricity and create a serious hazard.
Before you use the ladder, check that the ground underneath is firm and steady. If not, a large, flat wooden board can be braced under the ladder to form a more even surface. All extension locks should be engaged prior to setting up the ladder. The universal recommended angle for single, straight, or extension ladders is 75 degrees.
Use the 1:4 ratio for setting up the ladder safely. For instance, if the point of contact for your ladder is 8 feet high, the base of your ladder should be 2 feet away from the leaning surface.
Other Safety Considerations
- Never use a ladder for anything other than its intended purpose.
- Make sure your body is centered between the rails at all times. If you lean too far to one side, you could tip or fall.
- Never overreach from the ladder. If you need to reach something, step down and move the ladder to the desired position.
- Do not exceed the maximum support load for the ladder you’ve chosen. To help avoid this, only have one person on a ladder at a time.
- Always face the ladder when ascending or descending.
- Never leave a raised ladder unattended.
- If you feel tired or dizzy, step down from the ladder immediately.
- Wear non-slip footwear to avoid accidents when using a ladder at a construction site.
ERM Insurance Brokers can help protect your construction site with specialized coverage and a risk prevention strategy that can save your money and protect your workers.