Ladder-related injuries are nothing new; ever since the modern-day ladder was invented, people around the world have been visiting local hospitals to treat ladder-related injuries. According to a 2015 study, there were over 150 fatalities that year due to improper ladder use. That same year, there were over 20,000 recorded injuries.
In the majority of cases, these ladder-related injuries and fatalities could have been prevented. The main cause for injury – or worse, death – is due to improper ladder use and not following the right safety procedures while on the ladder. To keep this from happening to you, a reputable aluminum ladder company has come forward with a list of safety tips and protocols for using a portable ladder.
How to Choose the Right Ladder
The importance of choosing the right ladder is often overlooked, but it is extremely important to remain safe. The main thing to consider when investing in a ladder is how you intend to use it. Is this for cleaning out the outdoor gutters once or twice a year? Or do you plan on changing the hard-to-reach lightbulbs in your home? Perhaps you just need a short step ladder for accessing the top shelves of your closet.
Whatever your ladder-related needs may be, consider those needs before choosing a ladder model. There are many different types of ladders to choose from on the market today, including step ladders, extension ladders, and multipurpose ladders. Choosing the right one for your intended usage and location is a must.
How to Properly Set Up a Ladder
Inspecting a ladder before setting up is a necessary step to remaining safe. According to Canada’s National Occupational Health and Safety Resource, here’s how you should inspect a ladder before climbing it: “Pay close attention to painted wooden ladders; the paint could be hiding defects. If the ladder is defective, tag it and have it either repaired or thrown out.”
Never, ever climb a ladder that you have not first inspected. Whether you inspect it briefly or extensively is up to you, but you at least need to give it a once-over to ensure everything seems in order. A ladder that does not appear to be in good condition should never be used, even if you still think it can get the job done.
As you set up the ladder in your workspace, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setup. There should never be any overhead wires hanging up above, and the space surrounding the ladder’s base needs to be clear of tools and other objects. A general rule of thumb is that a ladder should be ¼ of the ladder’s height from the wall. So an 8-ft ladder should be placed 2 feet from a wall.
How to Safely Climb a Ladder
It goes without saying that you need to be in the right state of mind when working with a ladder. You should never attempt to climb a ladder if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As you climb, always grasp the ladder rungs rather than the sides of the ladder. Remain centered and never attempt to carry heavy objects up and down a ladder.