Using ladders is a common and necessary tool in the construction industry. Crew members climb ladders many times in a day, exposing workers to falls with each step taken. Falls can be fatal and are one of the leading causes of injuries and death in the construction industry.
Some workers may climb ladders many times each day and can become very comfortable doing so. Climbing can become as easy to some workers as walking up steps to the average person. This comfort can lead to complacency.
Before stepping foot on a ladder, remember to: Stop, Think and Remind yourself it only takes a split second to fall. Many deaths occur each year from falling less than 10 feet. Don't get complacent! Ladder falls are preventable - properly climbing and set up are key. Always remember to set your ladder up on a level surface, use the 4:1 ratio, avoid obstructions and high traffic areas and always maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from power lines. When climbing, always maintain three points of contact, extend portable ladders a minimum of 36" above the roof edge and don't forget to secure the ladder.
Examples of improper setup are: ladders not setup at the proper one-fourth angle, not being properly secured, side rails not extending three feet beyond the roof edge when used for access, working from the top two steps of a ladder, using a step ladder in a closed position and not maintaining three points of contact while on a ladder.
Ladders should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and be inspected prior to use.