FIVE RULES OF LADDER SAFETY
Falls are the leading cause of death in and around the home. The National safety council, notes that over 6,000 people die from falls in and around the home each year, and more than 30,000 people are injured each year by falls involving ladders. Most of these accidents occur because the victims violate the basic rules of ladder safety.
RULE 1: SELECT THE RIGHT LADDER FOR THE JOB
There are many types of ladders available, each intended for a specific purpose. Most work at NMSU requires ladders designed for either type 1 industrial or type II commercial.
- Type I Industrial – Heavy-duty with a load capacity of not more than 250 pounds.
- Type II Commercial – Medium-duty with a load capacity, not more than 225 pounds (suited for painting and similar tasks).
Regardless of the type of construction be sure the ladder has a label certifying that it complies with specifications of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and that it is listed by Underwriter Laboratories. Be sure the ladder is long enough to work from without using the top 3 feet. If the work involves possible contact with sources of electrical current an aluminum ladder is not suitable.
RULE 2: INSPECT THE LADDER BEFORE YOU BEFORE YOU USE IT
Any ladder can develop a problem that can render it unsafe, Each time you use a ladder, inspect it for loose or damaged rungs, steps, rails, or braces. Also check for loose screws, bolts, hinges, and other hardware. If the ladder has any type of defect, it must be repaired or the ladder must be replaced (see checklist below). Never use a ladder that is defective.
RULE 3: SET UP THE LADDER WITH CARE
No matter how safe the ladder is if it is placed in a dangerous location. Lock or block any nearby door that opens toward you. The area around the base should be uncluttered, and the ladder should be set on a solid, level surface. Stepladders should be fully opened. The straight ladder should be placed at a four-to-one ratio. This means the base should be one foot away from the wall or other vertical surface for every four feet of height to the point of support. if you plan to climb onto a roof or platform from a ladder, the ladder must extend above the edge at least three feet and be tied off at the top.
RULE 4: CLIMB AND DESCEND LADDERS CAUTIOUSLY
Always face the ladder and use both hands to climb and descent. Keep three limbs on the ladder at all times. Carry tools in a tool belt or raise and lower them with a hand line.
RULE 5: USE COMMON SENSE WHEN WORKING ON A LADDER
Always hold on with one hand and never reach too far to either side or to the rear. Never climb higher than the second step from the top on a stepladder or the third from the top on a straight ladder.