Falls from portable ladders are one of the leading causes of occupational injuries and fatalities. In fact, ladder fall injuries are a significant hazard both on the job and at home. In the U.S., more than 500,000 people per year are treated for ladder-related injuries, and about 300 people die.
1. Incorrect extension ladder setup angles: People tend to set extension ladders at shallower angles than they should. The result can be a bad fall because the ladder base slides out. Follow the 4-to-1 rule.
2. Inappropriate ladder selection: To avoid structural failure, you need to select a ladder with the proper duty rating (weight limit).
3. Insufficient ladder inspection: Regularly maintain and inspect every ladder you use. Look for loose joints, rungs and rails that are slippery, damaged, or cracked, and other problems. Tag damaged ladders and take them out of use.
4. Improper ladder use: Use a ladder as it was intended, watch your step, and don’t engage in dangerous behavior like overreaching, carrying objects as you climb, or “hopping” a ladder into a new position while you’re standing on it.
5. Lack of access to ladder safety tools and information: Read the labels and warnings on the rails of the ladder. Pay attention during safety training. If you still have questions about which ladder to choose, or how to safely use, inspect, or maintain it, talk with your supervisor.