Any seasoned construction worker who has ever taken a spill or a near fall can tell you about the importance of ladder safety. Any of the contractors/companies who has had to pay any of OSHA’s fines will also stress ladder safety? Ladders and stairways are a major source of onsite construction injuries and fatalities. OSHA estimates that there are over 24,882 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to falls on stairways and ladders used on construction sites. Falls on ladders and stairs can be avoided with the right set of safety equipment and doing so will help prevent the irksome downtime required to heal. Listed below are suggestions to help curve the risk of falling from a ladder or set of stairs:
- First, Use the correct ladder for the task: There are many ladders to choose from, but specific ladders should be chosen for each job. A convenient ladder used by the U.S. Military, State, Local and National Law Enforcement, the TeleSteps 1600ET has a fully automatic telescoping operation and telescopes in one foot increments and reaches full extension at a total of 12.5 feet, with a weight of 24 lbs. This ladder also has a max capacity of 300 lbs, and will fit in any car or truck for easy transportation. This ladder is also ideal for work around the house including doing jobs in the attic, roofing or even hanging gutters.
- Second, Visually inspect a ladder before use for any defects including Structural damage, split or bent side rails, broken or missing rungs, steps or cleats and finally missing or damaged safety devices.
- Third, Look for grease, dirt and other contaminants that could cause a slip or fall.
- Fourth, Make sure that ladders are long enough to safely reach any working area without requiring excessive reaching.
- Fifth, by using products like the The Little Giant 10717 Type 1A Fiberglass Ladder, which comes with safety features such as internal supports, fiberglass side rails,and five configurations including A-Frame, Stair case, 90-degree ladder, extension and scaffolding and constructed with patented fiberglass resin which makes it stronger and lighter than that of traditional fiberglass ladders, you can take a preventative approach to safety management before even breaking ground on that next job.
- Sixth, and it should go without saying, do not use damaged or defective ladders.
- Seven, never load ladders beyond the manufacturers maximum rated weight capacity.
- Eight, remember that the maximum load rating should support the weight of not only the user, but his tools and materials as well.
- Ninth, avoid using ladders with metallic components near electrical work, overhead power lines, as well as keep them away from wet or moist terrain.