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We have all worked with ladders at some time in our lives, either at work or
at home. The following are some tips that may make your interaction with ladders
- Before using a ladder, inspect it for faults, such as broken rungs or rails.
If it is an extension ladder, inspect the pulleys, ropes and locks for excessive
wear. Also, check the footings and pads to make sure they still provide a
non-skid surface. If any defect is found, the ladder should be tagged unsafe and
taken out of service. If it cannot be fixed, make sure it is disposed of
- When setting up a ladder, make sure the ground it is set upon is level and
stable. Do not set the ladder up on a muddy surface or you may find yourself
falling over. Do not use bricks or other material to raise the height of the
ladder. If it is not tall enough, you are using the wrong ladder.
- The ladder should reach a minimum of three feet above the "point of
support" and should be secured at this point.
- When using extension ladders, abide by the 1:4 rule. This means if you are
using a 12 foot ladder, the base should be three feet from the structure. Some
ladders provide a picture guide on the ladder itself to assist you in this. When
using a stepladder, make sure the folding cross braces are locked in the proper
position before you step onto it.
- Always face the ladder when ascending or descending, and have both hands
free to grasp it securely. If you need tools, they should be carried in a tool
belt or pulled up with a rope once you have reached your destination.
- Remember the "3-Point Rule": At least two hands and one foot, or
two feet and one hand, should be in contact with the ladder at all times.
- Keep your body between the side rails of the ladder. This reduces the chance
of tipping it over and/or falling off.
- Do not climb higher than the third rung from the top on straight or
extension ladders or the second tread from the top on stepladders.
By following the above rules, you greatly reduce your chances of being
injured while working on ladders. Remember, the life you save will be your own!
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