Last week, we discussed the different types of ladders and the materials they are made of. As we covered in the blog, it is important to know what type of ladder is best for the job you are doing, and what material is safest. This week, we want to discuss how to properly check your ladder to ensure it is safe, as well as the correct ways in which to use one.
If you use your ladder sporadically, it is a good idea to investigate it closely prior to stepping on it. However, even if you use one regularly is still smart practice to give it a look over before each use. You never know when a problem may arise, and it’s best to be prepared prior to climbing the ladder, rather than once you have reached the top.
So, let’s go over a checklist of things to watch for before starting your job:
- Check all rungs on the ladder to ensure they aren’t bent, broken, or loose or missing.
- Check all side rails to make sure they aren’t bent or damaged.
- Check the feet of the ladder to ensure they aren’t missing or damaged. It is also key to look for anything that might disrupt the feet from sitting securely on the surface (this could be dust, rocks, or debris from a worksite).
- Check the locking mechanism to ensure it is working properly and is locked into place before using.
- Check the platform, if using a step ladder, to ensure there isn’t anything that could cause a fall.
Once you have checked your ladder to ensure it’s safe, there are few standard rules you should follow when actually using the ladder.
Here are some tips to follow to make sure the job is completed safely, and efficiently:
- Follow the three points of contact rule. This is where, at all times you are using the ladder, you face the ladder, while having two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand in constant contact with the ladder steps, rungs, or side rails.
- Wear proper footwear whenever using a ladder. Yes, this means ditching your flip-flops sandals if you are working around your home in the summer!
- Consider wearing a toolbelt to ensure your hands are free, and you have easy access to the items you may need while on the ladder.
- Place the ladder on firm, solid ground. Never place a ladder on a moveable object and avoid placing in front of doors.
- Only one person should be on the ladder at a time.
- Climb the ladder slowly, and try not to make any sudden movements.
- Never move the ladder while in use. Climb down and move the ladder safely once your feet are back on the ground.
We understand that safety takes time and effort. However, by following this checklists and tips when using a ladder, you ensure that your well being is of utmost importance. Taking a few extra steps will save you from a possible injury that will impact your life and work more than an inspection and using the ladder correctly.
Take ladder safety one step at a time, and you will be glad that you did!