Ladder Safety in the Construction Industry
Tips for using ladders safely on the work site
Using an industrial ladder on site always comes with a few inherent risks. No matter how good the ladder itself is, if it’s not used properly it can present a number of hazards for workers. Here are some key points to remember before using an industrial ladder.
Remember, always refer to specific regulations in your area and check with your workplace health and safety representative for the right work methods for your site.
1. Firstly it’s wise to check the area for any hazards and risks such as uneven or loose ground or overhead wires or branches. Check that your ladder is set up on a solid, level base and on material that will not allow the ladder to slip.
2. Inspect your ladder before and after each use, checking for things such as broken or frozen joints or latches, cracks, broken welds, rough spots or loose hardware.
3. Ensure you’ve got the right ladder for the job, whether it is a platform ladder, stepladder, fibreglass ladder, or extension ladder. Check it meets Australian Standards and is suitable for the load requirements of the job. Occasionally a ladder may not even be the right choice for the task – instead you may need a work platform, scaffold or scissor lift.
4. The combined weight of the person using the ladder and any tools should never exceed the working load limit.
5. Don’t work alone – a second person should act as a spotter, holding the ladder at the bottom.
6. Extension ladders need to be set up at a one in four ratio, meaning the height is four times the distance from the wall to the feet of the ladder. Position the base of the ladder 1 metre away from the structure for every 4 metres of height.
7. Always face the ladder when climbing or descending, and don’t climb higher than the second rung on stepladders or the third rung on straight or extension ladders. Never straddle the top of an A-frame ladder.
8. Take advantage of tool holders or lanyards, belt clips and other items to ensure that your hands remain free at all times when climbing or descending. Use three points of contact at all times and don’t take large or heavy objects up a ladder.
9. Ensure all workers are familiar with the emergency response plan the event of a fall.
10. Maintenance is important – oil locks, wheels, pulleys and other moving parts regularly, ensuring you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
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This information is provided as an introductory guide only and does not constitute professional advice. Ensure you make your own independent enquiries before deciding if a particular product is right for you. Consult the regulations and standards applicable to your area and check with your workplace health and safety representative for further information. Jaybro does not warrant the accuracy, content, completeness or suitability of the information on this site (or any site owned by the Jaybro Group) for your individual purposes.