Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ladder Safety

This article was adapted from the Electrical Safety - Safety and Health for Electrical Trades by Dept. of Health and Human Services, NIOSH

To prevent injury when climbing, follow these procedures:
1. Position the ladder at a safe angle to prevent slipping. The horizontal distance from the base of the ladder to the structure should be one-quarter the length of the ladder. If you don’t have a way to make this measurement, follow the steps below to determine if the ladder is positioned at a safe angle.

  • Put your feet at the base of the ladder and extend your arms straight out.
  • If you can touch the closest part of the ladder without bending your arms, the ladder is probably at the correct angle.
  • If you have to bend your arms to touch the closest part of the ladder or if you can’t reach the ladder at all, the ladder is not positioned at a safe angle.

2. Make sure the base of the ladder has firm support and the ground or floor is level. Be very careful when placing a ladder on wet, icy, or otherwise slippery surfaces. Special blocking may be
needed to prevent slipping in these cases.
3. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper use.
4. Check the condition of the ladder before using it. Joints must be tight to prevent wobbling or leaning.
5. When using a stepladder, make sure it is level and fully open. Always lock the hinges. Do not stand on or above the top step.
6. When using scaffolding, use a ladder to access the tiers. Never climb the cross braces.
7. Do not use metal ladders. Instead, use ladders made of fiberglass. (Although wooden ladders are permitted, wood can soak up water
and become conductive.)
8. Beware of overhead powerlines when you work with ladders and

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