Ladder safety: The basics
“Ladders are tools,” the American Ladder Institute says. “Many of the basic safety rules that apply to most tools also apply to the safe use of a ladder.”
A fall from a ladder can result from sudden movement, working too quickly, not paying attention, using a damaged ladder and improper footwear. The institute, which recognizes March as National Ladder Safety Month, offers tips to prepare to work on a ladder:
- Feeling tired or dizzy? Stay off the ladder.
- Inspect the ladder before use to ensure it’s in good working order.
- Make sure you’re using the right size ladder for the job.
- Don’t use ladders during storms or high wind.
- Wear slip-resistant shoes if you’ll be climbing a ladder.
- Set up the ladder on firm, level ground away from doors.
- Allow only one person on the ladder at a time, and don’t carry items in your hands that can interfere with your grip.
When it’s time to climb the ladder, remember that you’ll need to maintain three points of contact to avoid a fall.
“At all times during ascent, descent and working, the climber must face the ladder and have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder steps, rungs and/or side rails,” the institute says. “This way, the climber is not likely to become unstable in the event one limb slips during the climb.”