According to ladder safety statistics, at least 300 people die each year from ladder falls and accidents. Also, 164,000 emergency injuries are recorded annually because of ladders. Therefore, safety should be the top priority when using a ladder. Here are 11 important ladder safety tips you must read before climbing any ladder. So without any further ado, let’s dive into it.
Ladder safety tips – Explained in Details
1. Ensure ladder inspection requirements
The first thing to do before using a ladder is to inspect for any red flags. You need to check for cracks and splits, rust, corrosion, and bolts that are not in place. Also, check that the rungs are correctly secured to both sides of the ladder. All locks and hinges should be functioning seamlessly before using the ladder. Any damage, no matter how small, is an indication of an unsafe ladder. You should only use the ladder if all the safety requirements are met. Ladder rung spacing is also a matter that requires attention. If you are not comfortable with the rung spacing then avoid using that ladder, it’s risky.
2. Maintain 4 rules for ladder safety
The ladder should maintain a 75-degree angle from the wall. You may know this as the 4:1 ratio or 4 rules for ladder safety. What does this mean? If your ladder is going to be 12 feet high, the distance of the base from the wall should be three feet.
You can measure this by standing straight with your toes at the bottom of the ladder. When you stretch out your arms, they should rest on the rungs at your shoulder height without overreaching. We recommend to maintain ideal ladder angle.
3. Maintain the 3-point rules when climbing
Always climb the ladder with two hands and one foot on the ladder or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder. Mai training contact with the ladder will help you remain steady. Also, keep your weight centered between the rails to avoid toppling over.
4. Extend the ladder over the roof
If you are planning to clean your gutters or fix the roof using an extension ladder, ensure that the ladder is extended over the room. Ensure that you extend the ladder at least one meter over the roof. If you are going to climb onto the roof from the ladder, climb from the second-highest rung and not the top rung. Extension ladder is more likely to lead to an accident, so while using an extension ladder you must follow extension ladder safety tips. While you are specifically looking for ladder to clean your own gutters then this article will help you out.
5. Keep the ladder on a stable footing
Although some ladders come with rubber feet to prevent slipping, it’s still essential to ensure you are working on a firm footing. It’s even more critical when you are working on unstable or uneven ground, such as a muddy or sloppy ground.
Set the ladder’s feet on a non-slip carpet or plywood board staked to the ground for stability.
You can also secure the ladder using unique ladder straps for additional stability or get someone to hold the ladder in place as you use it. Learn more about how to secure a ladder for highest level of safety.
6. Cover the top ends of the ladder
If you are using an extension ladder to access high walls, remember that it can slide against the wall or siding its placed on. You can tie some old socks or rugs on either side of the ladder to prevent skidding.
You can also purchase some rubber covers to put over the ends. Remember that you should never lean your ladder against doors, windows, or any unstable surfaces. Learn more about safe use of ladders.
7. Use rubber shoes when climbing a ladder
Although some ladders come with non-skid rungs, it’s essential to wear rubber shoes for precaution. The rubber shoes add traction to the ladder and keep you from slipping when climbing or using.
Ensure that the boots have deep treads for maximum stability. Do not climb a ladder barefoot, with high heels or improper shoes.
8. Avoid overreaching
Overreaching has got to be the biggest sin in using ladders. Do not use the first three rungs of a ladder unless they are designed for use. It does not matter whether you are using an extension ladder, step ladder to a-frame.
The top rungs of the ladder can lead to accidents due to loss of balance. It’s also very risky to improvise using boxes and blocks of wood to create extra height on the ladder. These items can collapse and lead to falls. What we’ve found during our research is really scary, people try to overreach the heights using a tiny step ladder which is very much dangerous. So we motivate to follow step ladder safety tips while using one. But if you really need to get access of top corners of your home or workplace then you need proper ladder. We have also published a resourceful handy reviews of the 9 best indoor ladder for high places, don’t forget to check that out.
9. Do not exceed the maximum load rating of the ladder
Every ladder comes with a weight rating that determines how much weight the ladder can withstand before collapsing. You need to ensure that your ladder can hold both your weight and load, if any.
Using a ladder that cannot withstand your weight could cause the ladder to break and cause an accident.
Even if you are as feather-weight, a type I (heavy duty) or type ii (medium-duty) ladder is recommended. Avoid light duty ladders at all costs.
10. Be informed about the weather before using a ladder
It’s dangerous to work on a windy or rainy day on the ladder since it causes ladder instability. Severe heat or cold also makes it uncomfortable and hazardous to work on a ladder.
Therefore, you need to watch weather forecast before setting a ladder date. A dry, mild, and windless day is ideal for repairing your roof or cleaning the gutters using a ladder.
Using a ladder on the soft, muddy, or icy ground can expose the user to extreme danger. It’s also advisable to follow portable ladder safety guides while using any because portable ladders are a bit more fragile than others.
11. Store the ladder in a safe place – it’s a part of ladder safety
The ladder, whether made of wood, aluminum, or stainless steel, should be stored in a dry place to avoid rusting, corrosion, or any damage. The ladder should be repaired, cleaned, and let to dry appropriately before storage.
It’s also essential to keep the ladder in a lockable garage as burglars can use it to access your house.
Here is a bonus point on ladder safety tips
Do not shift a ladder with someone on it to ensure max ladder safety
Whether your ladder has wheels or someone is holding it firm, it’s hazardous to move around with someone or a load on it. The person may fall off, or the load may come flying down and hurt you.
So, whether you are a professional or working at home, these ladders use safety tips will help you stay safe when using a ladder. In fact, we highly recommend to follow ladder safety tips at home because what we have seen is ladder safety guides are most ignored at home by the homeowners than the professionals at workplace.
Ensure that you follow them to the ladder to prevent hazards and accidents while working.
Also, ensure that you are purchasing a ladder that is safety certified and from a reputable seller. In addition to that you should follow a trustworthy ladder safety handout which you generally should be provided by the manufacturers. Follow this link to know more insights.