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Ladder safety is an important consideration for any business or individual that uses them. Ladders can be dangerous if not used properly, and ladder accidents can lead to serious injuries or even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 500,000 people end up in the hospital, and nearly 300 are killed yearly in the United States in ladder-related accidents. With an estimated annual cost of $24 billion, ladder accidents can occur when ladder users fall from heights, slip or trip while using the ladder, or are struck by falling objects. These injuries can be extremely serious, often resulting in broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and even death. In addition to the human cost, ladder accidents also impose a significant financial burden on society. Most ladder accident costs come from work loss, medical, legal, and liability costs. Pain and suffering expenses are also a severe setback for ladder accident victims.
Following safety guidelines when using ladders is crucial to help reduce the incidence of ladder accidents. Ladder users should always use caution by inspecting and stabilizing their ladder before climbing. Employees should also include their surroundings and potential hazards by knowing the right ladder to use and the strength of materials. By following these simple safety guidelines, ladder users can help reduce the number of ladder accidents each year.
Ladders – especially rolling ladders – pose a serious safety risk in warehouses and other industrial settings, and that’s why it’s so important to be careful when using them. Here are a few rolling ladder safety tips to keep in mind:
Always Inspect Rolling Ladders Before Use
Before stepping into a mobile safety ladder, the first guideline is always to keep it in a safe position by locking the casters. Before you or a coworker climbs the ladder, ensure the casters are locked. If the bottom of your ladder has rubber attachments, inspect them for deterioration or signs of wear. Check to verify that the railing is installed securely before using it. The inspector’s checklist should include loose bolts, broken rungs, and damaged boards.
Implement a Buddy System at Work
Although a single worker can easily push rolling stairs into position, implementing a buddy system when using mobile ladders is a good idea for safety. Having two workers helps ensure that the ladder is stable and secure, and it also allows one worker to climb while the other worker holds the ladder. In addition, having two workers also allows for more communication and coordination, which can help to prevent ladder accidents. By implementing a buddy system, businesses can help to create a safer work environment and reduce the risk of ladder accidents.
Remind Workers to Maintain 3 Points of Contact
When ascending or descending rolling ladders, 3 points of body connection prevent ladder accidents before they happen. Three points of contact mean that both hands should be gripping the handrails, and at least one foot should be solidly planted on a rung. Keeping all three points of contact will make the ladder much more stable, and the climber will be less likely to lose their balance. In addition, it is important to move slowly and deliberately when climbing a ladder. Rushing can increase the risk of an accident, so it is best to take your time.
Read Manufacturer Labels and Safety Warnings
Workers need to familiarize themselves with the duty ratings labeled on each ladder. These ratings indicate the maximum weight the ladder can safely support and the load for the ladder’s intended use. For example, a Type IA ladder has a duty rating of 300 pounds and is meant for general use, while a Type IAA ladder has a duty rating of 375 pounds and is meant for heavy-duty use. Always check the label and adhere to the corresponding safety instructions when using a ladder, and doing so can help prevent accidents and ensure a safe work environment.
Other tips you should keep in mind:
- Never stand on the top rung of a rolling ladder – always keep your feet on the lower rungs.
- Never try to carry anything while climbing. Ask your buddy to hand your tools when you’re already at the ladder platform.
- Don’t try to move a rolling ladder while someone is on it – wait until the person has safely descended before moving it.
Ladder safety is of utmost importance when working in industrial settings. Multiple ladder types and platforms are available, each with advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right ladder for the job is important and always following ladder safety guidelines.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) even released a ladder safety app that features several safety tools like determining the safe angle for ladder use and decision-making directions when facing doubts about ladder use. Other setups/installation guides corroborate workers’ safety when using ladders. Workers can often prevent ladder accidents themselves when following safe ladder practices. When it comes to ladder safety, knowledge is power. By understanding ladder hazards and how to avoid them, you can help keep yourself and your coworkers safe on the job.