You may have used ladders all of your life, but not following proper ladder safety procedures could land you in the hospital. Gravity is unforgiving, and a fall from even a small height can cause serious injury. If your job involves ladder use, following the guidelines below will help you avoid an unexpected workplace accident.
Ladder safety begins with a good foundation. Place the base of the ladder on a firm, solid surface. If you have to put the ladder on a soft surface, place a board beneath the feet for stability. The top of the ladder needs firm support as well; do not lean it against a window or other unstable surface.
When using a straight or extension ladder, place the base of the ladder out a foot from the surface it rests against for every four feet of height. When using a ladder to access a roof or platform, the top should extend at least three feet over the roof or platform edge.
If you are using a stepladder, make sure to open it fully before you climb on it. If you are using it near a doorway, lock or barricade the door and post a sign to keep someone from opening the door and knocking you off.
Do not climb with equipment in your hands. Use your tool belt or pockets, and if you have to take something heavier up, use a hand line.
If using a ladder is part of your job, follow the proper safety precautions. Doing so will help ensure that you only reach the ground when you want to.
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