Ladder Safety Procedures
Each year a large number of people around the world are injured or killed by falling from a ladder. In 2016, OSHA estimated that 20% of fatal and days away from work injuries in general industry were related to falls from ladders. These events typically occur because the person is properly using the ladder.
One of the most dangerous aspects of later use is simply climbing up and down the ladder. When ascending and descending ladders, ensuring you maintain 3-points of control is critical to your safety. By following the 3-points of control guidelines, you provide yourself with both stability and a safety back-up should you slip or misplace your foot. With only one hand and one foot maintaining control, while you move up or down the ladder, you have no backup should your
foot slip or you lose your grip.
So, what does it mean to maintain three points of control? That means you must have two hands gripping rungs and one foot on a rung or two feet on rungs and one hand gripping a rung on the ladder at all times. Gripping the sides of the ladder does not provide the same level of control and stability as holding onto the
rungs. It will take practice and a conscious effort to maintain 3-point control. You should only break 3-point control once you have reached the ground or accessed a stable platform.
Other ladder safety tips include:
§ Place both hands and grip firmly on the rungs before stepping onto a ladder.
§ Always face the ladder and stay focused when you are climbing up and down.
§ Do not lean outside of the side rails. Keep your center of gravity between the side rails.
§ Maintain contact with the ladder using both feet at all times when stopped on a ladder. Never straddle the space between a ladder and another object!
§ Make sure that the ladder extends at least 90 cm (3 ft) above the top landing to allow for a safe transition to the landing.
§ Do not carry tools, equipment, or material in your hands while climbing. Your hands must be free to maintain 3-point of control.
§ Clean mud, snow, and other slippery substances off your boots and the ladder rungs before climbing.
§ Tie off or secure the top and bottom of the ladder to prevent movement when using straight or extension ladders.