Stepladders can be a quick and easy way to extend your reach, however, every time you use a stepladder there is a risk for permanent injury or death. Those hazards can be greatly reduced by following good safety practices.
Eliminate the Common Hazards by:
- Inspect the ladder before each use and do not use if damaged.
- Make sure the ladder rungs are clean and not slippery and that you are wearing slip resistant shoes.
- Make sure the ladder is fully open and the center spreader is locked.
- Make sure the ladder is set up on a non-slippery, level, and stable surface.
- Make sure the ladder is tall enough and rated for the work to be performed.
- Never use a stepladder to access another elevation because they are not designed for top or side exit or entry.
- Never lean a stepladder because the feet are designed to be stable only in a fully open position.
- Never use a metal stepladder near power lines or electrical equipment.
- Never straddle the top of a stepladder or stand on the top two steps.
- Provide barricades if ladder must be set up in a vehicle or pedestrian traffic area.
- Maintain a 3-point contact when climbing ladders and keep your weight and shoulders between the rails.
Using a stepladder safely is not as simple as most of us would believe. Depending on the work to be accomplished and the work environment, there will be other unique safety hazards to be considered for each ladder setup. A little forward planning, an inspection of the ladder, and survey of the work area is a good start to ensure a safe work experience using a stepladder.