Monthly safety tip from your Black Hawk College Safety Committee
Leaves are falling and gutters will begin to be filled with debris. That means it’ll be time to pull out your ladder to clean your gutters and get ready for the winter months ahead. Use the right ladder and be safe.
According to the National Safety Council, more than 30,000 people are injured each year by falls involving ladders. Most of the accidents occur because users violate the basic rules of ladder safety. Remember five safety rules when using a ladder:
Select the right ladder
There are many types of ladders. The most common ladder is the straight (single or extension) ladder and stepladder. Read and follow all label markings on the ladder. Be sure the ladder is long enough and sturdy enough. Do not exceed the maximum load rating of the ladder.
Inspect your ladder before you use it
Inspect the ladder for loose or damaged rungs, steps, rails or braces. Make sure the spreaders on the stepladders can be locked in place. Never use a ladder that is defective! Painting can hide defects so do not paint a ladder.
Set up your ladder correctly
Ladders must not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the ladder. Block the door open or lock it so it is not opened. Use a barricade if the ladder will be in a traffic area in order to prevent collisions.
Ensure closed doors are secured so that they cannot be opened into the ladder. The base of the ladder should be on a solid, level surface that is kept uncluttered. If you plan to climb onto a roof be sure the ladder extends at least three feet above the edge.
Use caution when climbing and descending
Always face the ladder, maintaining a three-point contact with the ladder. It’s also good to have a second person with you when descending a ladder to hold the ladder stationary if needed. Wear clean and slip resistant shoes. Use your personal protection equipment if it is needed.
Use common sense
Never reach too far on either side when using a ladder. Keep your stomach between the ladder side rails and always keep one hand on the ladder. Never climb higher than the second step from the top of a stepladder or the third from the top of a straight ladder. Never attempt to use the highest rung of a ladder.
Use care when carrying or transporting a ladder to avoid injury to yourself and others or damage to your ladder. Ladders should be stored in a ventilated area and in a position that will prevent sagging or warping. If you feel tired or dizzy, are prone to stay off the ladder. Never use a ladder in high winds or storms.
Sources: National Safety Council, American Ladder Institute
Disclaimer: These tips have been provided as general information for increasing safety awareness and for informational purposes only. Black Hawk College does not accept any liability for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) that is provided. We make every effort to insure the integrity and validity of the data provided, but as always, check with your care provider before making any changes.
Last updated 10/14/2014