Are you a new worker who use step ladder in your daily jobs? Or do you want to improve safety of step ladder operation? If your answer are yes for both questions, then you should read the step ladder safety tips that I write in this post.
Step ladder safety is very important topic. That’s why you have to understand this topic very well.
Before we dive into the tips, let’s first see some important facts about the importance of step ladder safety. According to the statistics data from Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention that in the last 10 years 43% of fatal falls involved ladder use.
In addition, in 2011 there were 113 fatalities in work-related ladder fall injuries.
These two facts have shown the reasons why you have to concern in step ladder safety.
Take extra care while using step ladder in your workplace. And do not forget to follow the following step ladder safety tips.
Know the Hazards of Using Step Ladder
The very first step you have to do to be safe when using step ladder is to recognize the step ladder hazard.
Falling from height is the most obvious hazard associated with step ladder. If this happens you may get injured or even death.
This hazard alone should make you have high awareness against step ladder hazard.
Step Ladder Safety Tips
Safe step ladder usage starts from correct selection of the step ladder. After that, you need to concern about training, inspection before use, set-up/placement and proper operation.
I will divide the tips based on these topics. Let’s start talking the tips from the correct selection of step ladder.
How to Select Correct Step Ladder
Selecting the correct one is the very important step. Be careful with this step. Follow the tips below to get one that suits with your needs.
- Calculate the weight of person and weight of tools that you will use. You get the total weight.
- Choose proper step ladder capacity or load rating. Consider safety factors when selecting load rating. Suppose you choose load rating 150% or higher than total weight.
- In general, its load rating is classified as heavy duty, medium duty and light duty.
- Select proper step ladder material. Consider your workplace conditions, type of jobs and also material that you will handle.
- If in your country step ladder is rated, choose rated one.
Having a Regular Ladder Safety Training
Every one who use step ladder must get training before he or she uses it. Provide training for new worker. But, don’t forget to provide refreshing training for senior worker.
Training is essential. It keeps them aware of step ladder safety.
Tips for Everyday Inspection Before Use
You have to inspect the ladder each time you will use it. This must be done, not an optional. It is because you have to make sure the ladder is in good condition.
In addition, if you feel something wrong with your body or health, do not force yourself to use step ladder. You will endanger your safety.
- Check for any defect on every part of step ladder like dent, bent, crack, wear and split.
- Report immediately if you find damage step ladder.
- Make sure that there is no grease, oil, metal, stone or any kind of material that may cause step ladder becomes unsafe.
- If you find worn rope on extension ladder, replace it immediately with the same specification as mention in the manual.
- Use a step ladder which is about 1 m shorter than the highest point you need to reach. This provides a wider, more stable base and places shelf at a convenient working height.
- If you are in doubt to use the ladder, stop to use it. Ask recommendation from the expert.
Tips for Step Ladder Set-up and Placement
After you have inspected the ladder, then the next step is to ensure good set-up and placement. Follow the tips below to ensure it is stable and secure.
- Open the step ladder fully. Lock the braces. Make sure the locks work.
- Secure the top of step ladder with rope of wire to avoid movement. Tie it up.
- Secure the base of step ladder from moving. Use only stable surface for the base. Avoid any movable base or soft base.
- Now check the ladder stability. Make sure that all its feet are on a firm, level and non-slippery surface.
- Check that rails on ladder extend at least 1 m above the landing. This gives the ladder secure grip.
- Put the step ladder at right angles to the work, with either the front or back of the steps facing the work.
- Secure immediate area where the ladder is placed. Use safety line for easy visibility.
- If you use step ladder in front of a door, do not forget to lock the door.
Safety Tips for Step Ladder Operation
The step ladder is already set-up and ready to use. Now, you need to pay attention on how to work with it safely. Find the step ladder safety tips below.
- Never use step ladder in bad weather or in windy.
- Ask some one to stay close to the ladder at the bottom while you climb it.
- Do not allow unintended use by placing visible tags.
- Don’t push or pull step ladder from the side. This action may cause it become unstable if done repeatedly.
- Check your shoes or boots free from mud, oil or any other slippery materials that may cause loose of footing.
- Always face the step ladder when you climb up or down.
- Always keep 3 points contact on the ladder when you climb up or down: 2 hands and 1 foot, or 1 hand and 2 feet.
- You have to keep your body centered between side rails.
- Make your knee contact with side rails to add balance.
- Never use higher than the third or fourth step from the top.
- Use hoist or similar tool to bring materials or work tools. Don’t bring them by yourself while climbing up.
- Do not try to overreach. Climb down and move the ladder close to the work.
- Use your free hand to hold if possible.
- Keep your foot on the step ladder. Do not walk on it.
- Never stand, climb, or sit on the top of step ladder.
- Only one person can use step ladder. Do not use it with your friend.
- Never use step ladder as a support or platform for a work.
- Never climb the back of step ladder.
Learn More from Ladder Safety Video
In addition to the above step ladder safety tips, below is ladder safety video that I hope can make your understanding better.
You can also use safety slogans to remind people about safety hazards associated with step ladder use.
To safely use step ladder, you have to ensure that you select the right load rating. Before use, always inspect it to ensure it is safe to use. While using it, do not forget to consider all the above step ladder safety tips.
You can compile the above step ladder safety tips in form of a safety checklist like safety helmet inspection checklist to make it easy to follow.