This Tech Tip was originally published as the May 2016 “Safety Pins” by Philip E. Spiezio, Safety Officer, Washington County Office of the Safety Officer
There are many different types and styles of ladders available today. Choosing the right ladder for the task at hand is an important start to ensuring your safety and the safety of others around you. Load ratings of ladders range from light-duty household type to the heavy-duty industrial type.
- Inspect ladders before each use
- Be sure that you always use a ladder on firm and level ground
- Always keep your belt buckle inside the ladder’s side rails
- Tie off / secure extension ladders. If using a ladder to gain access to a roof or other elevated landing, then the ladder must extend at least 3 feet above the access point
- Step ladders shall not be used as an extension ladder
- Maintain 3 points of contact while on a ladder at all times
- Use the 4:1 ratio whenever using an extension ladder. For example, if you are raising a ladder to a height of 16 feet, then the base of the ladder must be about 4 feet out from the wall
- Carry tools on a belt or raise and lower them with a rope while working on a ladder
- Do not climb higher than the third rung from the top of an extension ladder or the second step from the top of a stepladder
- Always use step stools or step ladders (Keep them where they are easily accessible)
—resist the temptation to use chairs or upside down 5 gallon buckets for climbing or reaching!
- Be extra careful around electrical lines when using a ladder. Both aluminum and wood will conduct electricity!