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Ladder Safety Tips for Work and Home

July 20, 2022

You probably have never given ladders much thought, but can you picture what our world would be like without them? Yet with every tool comes risks to consider. According to the American Ladder Institute, more than 100 people die and thousands suffer disabling injuries yearly in ladder-related accidents.

The American Ladder Institute reports that missing the last step and overreaching are the two most-cited causes of ladder accidents. Using the wrong ladder, using a ladder incorrectly and using a defective ladder closely trail behind.

But here is the good news: ladder-related accidents are preventable whether you are working around the house or on the job.

Four Rules for Ladder Safety

Although climbing a ladder seems relatively straightforward, keeping safety in mind before and during ladder use is crucial.

1. Use the proper ladder for the job.

It is crucial to select a ladder that has the proper load capacity for your specific job. With that said, consider your weight and the weight of your equipment, tools and any other materials you plan to bring up with you. Research ladder types and select the most suitable option for your task.

2. Inspect the ladder before and after use.

Confirm that your ladder is in effective working condition before use:

  • Check the ladder’s stability.
  • Ensure that all screws, bolts and hinges are tight and that the ladder’s base is secure.
  • Look for loose or damaged rungs, steps, side rails or any other structural damage.
  • Check for dirt, grease or paint that could cause slips and falls.

3. Set up the ladder correctly and safely.

The placement and setup of a ladder are pivotal:

  • Place the ladder on a solid foundation that won’t give way.
  • Don’t place a ladder in front of closed doors that can open towards the ladder. Block open, lock or guard doors.
  • Keep the ladder away from electrical wiring.
  • Place the ladder on a level surface and at a four-to-one ratio. This means that the base should be one foot away from the wall or vertical surface for every four feet of height to the point of support.

4. Climb and descend the ladder with caution.

Use care when getting on or off the ladder to prevent the ladder from tipping or slipping sideways:

  • Stay near the ladder’s center and face the ladder while climbing or descending.
  • Always maintain three points of contact on the ladder to avoid wobbling or swaying; two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand.
  • Carry tools on a belt or hoist to keep your hands free.
  • Look for overhead power lines before handling or climbing a ladder.

Ladder safety is often shrugged off as a common-sense topic, yet the statistics on ladder-related injuries show that it isn’t a topic to take lightly. Complacency leads to accidents. Follow these safety tips to keep yourself and others safe.

Related Reading: Keep Your Teenage Seasonal Employees Safe This Summer

The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your insurance broker or trusted advisor for insurance-related questions.

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