How To Prevent Falls From Ladders on Work Sites

If you’ve ever worked on a construction site, you know that falls from ladders are all too common. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls from ladders are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in the construction industry. But by following some simple safety guidelines, you can greatly reduce the risk of falling from a ladder. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to prevent falls.

Proper ladder usage

Working at heights is a hazard that construction workers face on a daily basis. While there are many safety precautions that can be taken to avoid falls, one of the most important is to use ladders properly. Ladders should always be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and workers should be properly trained on how to use them safely.

When set up and used correctly, ladders can be a safe and effective way to work at heights. Here are some tips on how to use ladders safely:

  • Inspect the ladder before each use and do not use it if it is damaged.
  • Set up ladders properly, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure the ladder is set up on a level, stable surface.
  • Do not stand on the top rung of the ladder.
  • Keep your body centered between the side rails of the ladder.
  • Do not lean or reach too far to one side while working on the ladder.
  • Use both hands when climbing or descending the ladder.
  • Wear proper footwear while using a ladder – no loose clothing or shoes with heels.
  • Climb slowly and carefully, keeping your body centered between the rails of the ladder.
  • If you do fall from a ladder, try to land on your side to minimize the impact. Seek medical attention immediately if you are injured.

OSHA requirements

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 24,000 workers are injured each year in the United States as a result of falls from ladders. In order to reduce the number of injuries and deaths from ladder falls, OSHA has established requirements for the use of ladders in the workplace. These requirements are outlined in OSHA Standard 1910.23, which can be found on the OSHA website.

Some of the key provisions of this standard include:

  • Employers must provide their employees with training on the safe use of ladders.
  • Ladders must be inspected before each use to ensure that they are in good working condition.
  • Ladders must be used according to their manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ladders must be placed on a level surface before they are used.
  • Workers must not stand on the top rung or step of a ladder.
  • Ladders must be secured to prevent them from slipping or being knocked over.

Inspecting ladders

One way to prevent ladder falls is to make sure that the ladder is in good working order before each use. A thorough inspection should be done on ladders at the beginning of each workday, and any time the ladder is moved to a new location. An inspection should also be done after any incident that could have damaged the ladder, such as a fall or impact.

Using the right ladder for the job

When choosing a ladder, you need to take into account the height of the task, the weight of the person using the ladder, and whether the ladder will be used on uneven ground. You also need to make sure that the ladder you choose is rated for both commercial and industrial use.

There are three main types of ladders-step ladders, straight ladders, and extension ladders.

Step ladders are A-shaped with a platform at the top and are used for tasks that don’t require going higher than 12 feet off the ground. You need to make sure that there is nothing in front of or behind the ladder so that you don’t trip while climbing it. When climbing a step ladder, always face the ladder and keep your body centered between the rails. If you’re working on a task where you might have to use your hands (such as painting or washing windows), it’s best to use a stepladder so that you have something to lean against if you lose your balance.

Straight or single ladders have rails that extend straight up and are used for tasks that require going higher than 12 feet. If you’re working on a task that doesn’t require going higher than 12 feet off the ground, you can use either a step ladder or a straight ladder. When using a step ladder, make sure that it is fully opened and locked into place before trying to climb it.

Extension ladders have two sections that slide together and can be extended to various lengths. They are used when a task requires going higher than 20 feet. If you’re working on a task that requires going higher than 12 feet off the ground, you need to use an extension ladder.

When using an extension ladder, you need to make sure that both sections are locked in place before trying to climb it. You also need to make sure that the area around the base of the ladder is clear so that you don’t trip while climbing. When climbing an extension ladder, always face the ladder and keep your body centered between the rails.

Training employees

Falls from ladders are a common occurrence on work sites, and they can often be prevented with proper training. Employees should be trained on the correct way to set up and use ladders, as well as how to inspect them for damage.

They should also be aware of the dangers of overexertion and height and know how to properly use fall protection equipment. In addition to employee training, employers should also provide ladders that are in good condition and appropriate for the task at hand.

Ladders should be inspected regularly and replaced as needed. Any damaged or defective ladders should be taken out of service immediately.

Creating a safety culture

One way to prevent falls from ladders on work sites is to create a safety culture. A safety culture is a shared commitment by management and workers to making safety a priority in the workplace. To create a safety culture, management should:

  • Make safety a priority in the workplace.
  • Communicate the importance of safety to workers.
  • Provide resources and training for workers on how to safely work with ladders.
  • Encourage workers to report any unsafe conditions or practices.
  • Investigate all accidents and near-misses involving ladders.

Reviewing policies

Reviewing policies is an important first step in preventing falls from ladders on work sites. Some companies have strict policies in place that prohibit the use of ladders, while others allow their use under specific circumstances. It is important to review the policies of your company and make sure you understand them before using a ladder on a work site.

In addition to reviewing company policies, you should also be familiar with OSHA regulations regarding the use of ladders on work sites. OSHA has specific regulations in place that must be followed in order to ensure the safety of workers. Familiarizing yourself with these regulations will help you avoid potential hazards when using a ladder.

In Closing

While ladders are generally safe if used properly, falls still occur on work sites that use them. This is why it is important to remain vigilant about following all safety steps and requirements provided by OSHA and your employer whenever you use a ladder.

NEXT UP: What Different Ladder Designs Are Used For

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Leon Ashcraft
About Leon Ashcraft

Leon Ashcraft is a Safety Instructor and consultant in Colorado with focus on OSHA, environmental health and safety, transportation safety, oil & gas, rescue operations and construction safety. Learn more about Leon here or connect with him on Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium