Even though they’re found in every single industry and household, ladders are often neglected when it comes to safe work practices. Falls from ladders are much more common than you think, and happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Not using three points of contact to hold on and/or not using fall protection
- Unsafe practices like overreaching and ‘running’ up or down rungs
- Using ladders in unsafe conditions like high winds, uneven ground, or slippery surfaces
- Not obeying the 4 to 1 rule (every 4 feet up the base must be 1 foot from the wall)
- Working from the top rungs or the ladder
- Slipping on rungs due to wet conditions or improper footwear
- Damaged or defective ladders being used due to improper inspection practices
The consequences of ladder falls are often extremely serious, and can even be deadly. And misusing ladders can result in more than just dangerous falls – long-term musculoskeletal disorders, electrocution from contact with wires or lines, or paralysis are all very real possibilities.
Ladder Laws Exist
Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) says that employers are required to take every reasonable precaution to protect their workers from hazards, and that includes those hazards related to ladders. They must provide their employees with information and instruction to ensure their proper use – and be prosecuted by law if they fail to do so. Construction, industrial, and mining regulations all contain their own detailed requirements for ladder safety.
Both OSHA and CSA believe that every ladder accident can be avoided by following proper work procedures.
What Should You Do Before Using a Portable Ladder?
It is possible to make sure your employees are using ladders safely – always run through the checklist below before you even think about stepping foot on one:
- Use a ladder designed for the task
- Read and follow the labels and markings on the ladder
- Inspect the ladder before and after every single use
- Throw away any ladders with defects, and tag them so there’s no chance of them being used again
- Keep ladders away from power lines
- Set up barricades and warning signs if using a ladder in a door or passageway
- Position the base of the ladder on flat, dry surfaces using the 4 to 1 rule
- Secure the bottom of the ladder to prevent kick out (slipping) or lateral motion
Ladder LockDown to the Rescuse!
Securing your portable ladder is quick and easy with the new Ladder LockDown (LLD), a ladder enhancement product designed to improve ladder safety. Ladder Lockdown is built for versatility and works great on hard surfaces (concrete, wood), soft surfaces (sand, grass) and ice. Ladder Lockdown is designed specifically to reduce lateral movement and prevent ladder kick-out – the cause of 54% of all ladder accidents. Climbing a ladder is 25 times safer when used with LLD saddle and safe laddering practices!
Ladder Lockdown sets up in seconds and fits all standard extension ladders and most A-frames up to 12 feet. The 11 gauge steel constructions weighs 15 pounds making it portable yet durable enough to stand up to harsh industrial environments.
Want to learn more? Mike Holmes and his daughter Sherry demonstrate how to use Ladder LockDown and discuss how it works to make you safer on a ladder – check out the video now!