Take the time before you climb. Check to see if your ladder is safe to use before stepping foot on a rung. Ladders get thrown in and out of trucks and closets which may cause the ladders to get beat-up. A damaged ladder is unsafe to use and should be immediately taken out of service.
If you notice any cracked or damaged uprights, braces, or rungs, the ladder should not be used. Loose nails, screws, bolts or other metal parts are also a huge red flag. The ladder rungs should be secure and clean of any oil or dirt. Foot treads should not be worn out and all of the ladder’s labels should be present and legible. As always, only use a ladder on a stable surface. If the ladder is rocking even slightly, or if you need to place something underneath the feet of the ladder to keep it stable, the ladder is unsafe for use.
Why is inspection so important? According to the World Health Organization, the United States has the most number of deaths caused by falls from ladders. Falls from ladders are also the leading cause of deaths in the construction industry. There are over 164,000 emergency room visits and 300 deaths from falling from ladders. The majority of falls from ladders that lead to death are from heights of 10 feet or less from the ground. The number of deaths has tripled over the past decade. Most of these deaths may have been prevented by inspecting ladders before use and putting defected ladders out of service. Another factor that may decrease the amount of fatalities and injuries due to falls from ladders is proper training.
The following list outlines just a few items to train employees in regards to the safe and proper use of ladders.
Always maintain 3-points of contact at all times when climbing
Do not carry any materials up or down a ladder
Wear a tool belt
Use a hand line
Face the ladder when ascending or descending
Work only within an arm’s reach of the ladder
Keep your belt buckle between the sides rails of the ladder at all times
Only allow one person to climb the ladder at a time
Position the ladder at the proper pitch (1/4 rule)
Extend the side rails at least 36 inches or 3 rungs above
Secure the top of the ladder to help prevent shifting
If you have water or fire damage, please call SERVPRO of Mattapan/Hyde Park (857) 399-9797