Did you know that two of the most common causes for ladder accidents include overreaching and missing the last rung – essentially, “trying to do too much” and “not paying attention,” respectively. Most ladder accidents are due to human error. Some of these accidents can be avoided with a refresher course in Ladder Safety 101. However, it’s easy to get comfortable and overlook the basics. Keeping yourself refreshed on the fundamentals of ladder safety is something that’s always worth a second look.
Here are four do’s and don’ts to remember about ladder safety:
1. MYTH: “This ladder is broken; let me just throw it in the dumpster.”
FACT: This is not an appropriate way to dispose of a ladder and could result in someone being injured as a result of taking the unsafe ladder and attempting to use it. You might be surprised to know that this is also a potential legal issue for you. Lawsuits have been won by individuals who were injured after using a ladder that was discarded in the trash – resulting in a significant financial impact and a host of legal woes for the individual and/or company that improperly discarded the ladder.
The proper way to dispose of ladder is to cut it down the center of the rungs so it cannot be used by anyone. With wood ladders, this can be easily accomplished with a chainsaw, but it may require specialty machinery to dispose of aluminum or fiberglass ladders. It is critically important to take all necessary safety precautions when discarding the ladder.
2. MYTH: “I have some heavy items that I’ll be carrying as I climb this ladder. Let me get a taller one to carry the load.”
FACT: A taller ladder does NOT equate to a higher weight rating. There is no correlation between the height of a ladder and the amount of weight that it can bare.
To ensure that you are using the right ladder for the job, make sure that you are taking into account the Duty Rating for your ladder. The Duty Rating is the total amount of weight your ladder will support. Here is the simple calculation for determining the Duty Rating needed for the job at hand:
- Your weight; plus
- The weight of your clothing and protective equipment; plus
- The weight of tools and supplies you are using
There are five categories of ladder Duty Ratings:
|Type IAA (Extra Heavy Duty)||375 pounds|
|Type IA (Extra Heavy Duty)||300 pounds|
|Type I (Heavy Duty)||250 pounds|
|Type II (Medium Duty)||225 pounds|
|Type III (Light Duty)||200 pounds|
3. MYTH: “If I buy one really great ladder, that should meet the needs for any job I have that requires a ladder.”
FACT: Different ladder types have different purposes. Make sure you brush up on what type of ladder best fits your needs! Find out more about how to choose the right ladder.
4. MYTH: “The higher you go on a ladder, the more likely you are to have a ladder accident.”
FACT: More often than not, ladder injures are caused by people using them incorrectly – no matter the height of the ladder or of the type of work being done. Of those that participated in a 2016 survey conducted by the American Ladder Institute about ladder safety, 75.7 percent of participants felt that ladder accidents in their workplace could have been avoided with proper ladder safety training.
Now that you’re in the know, take safety into your own hands. Whether you’re preparing for spring cleaning around your house or you use a ladder in your professional life (or both!), National Ladder Safety Month is an ideal time to refresh your ladder safety training. Free ladder safety resources are available at www.laddersafetymonth.com.
Contributing Author: National Ladder Safety Month
National Ladder Safety Month is the only movement dedicated exclusively to the promotion of ladder safety, at home and at work. During March 2017, National Ladder Safety Month will bring heightened awareness to the importance of the safe use of ladders through resources, training and a national dialogue. The American Ladder Institute, the only approved developer of safety standards for the U.S. ladder industry, is the presenting sponsor of National Ladder Safety Month. For more information visit www.laddersafetymonth.com and get involved on social media using #laddersafetymonth.
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