Ladder Safety – Do’s, Don’ts & Inspection Tips

Here is a great article from Accident Fund Insurance with ladder safety and inspection tips.  As spring draws near the opportunity to use ladders increases. Following these helpful tips will reduce the chance for injury.

Be safe.

Myra Piper, CIC, CWCA

As with any other equipment, there are safety rules when it comes to ladder use. Portable ladders are one of the handiest, simplest tools available to perform a variety of tasks. While they seem like simple tools to use, planning and care are critical to using them safely. Each year in the U.S., accidents involving ladders cause an estimated 300 deaths and 130,000 injuries requiring emergency medical attention. Being conscious of ladder safety is a simple way to prevent workplace accidents and keep workers safe on the job.

Most Important Ladder “Do’s”

1.     Do use the ladder for its intended purpose only.
2.     Do only allow one person on a ladder at a time.
3.     Do check the ladder’s condition before use.
4.     Do keep both feet and one hand on ladder at all times.
5.     Do use the proper ladder for the job.

Top-20 Ladder “Don’ts”

1.     Don’t use an aluminum ladder around live electrical wires.
2.     Don’t use a ladder in standing water when working with electrical tools.
3.     Don’t use a ladder in a swimming pool when working with electrical tools.
4.     Don’t climb a ladder if you are dizzy or out of breath.
5.     Don’t place a ladder on uneven or unstable surfaces.
6.     Don’t place a ladder on top of boxes, bricks or pallets to get more height.
7.     Don’t use a ladder in strong winds (especially avoid during a tornado).
8.     Don’t use a ladder outside during a lightning storm (especially not an aluminum ladder).
9.     Don’t try to carry extremely heavy or awkwardly large items up a ladder.
10.   Don’t stand or sit on the top step of a ladder.
11.   Don’t lean out by one hand when using a ladder.
12.   Don’t lean a ladder against a vehicle.
13.   Don’t make scaffolding out of ladders.
14.   Don’t lean or stand a ladder in front of a door that opens toward you.
15.   Don’t set loose tools or equipment on top of a ladder — they could fall off.
16.   Don’t work for more than 15–30 minutes in a single position when on a ladder.
17.   Don’t use a ladder that has broken or splintered rungs.
18.   Don’t use a ladder if you have oil or grease on the bottoms of your shoes.
19.   Don’t use a ladder that can’t hold your weight or the weight of materials you are using.
20.   Don’t walk backward up a ladder so you can carry a larger load.
Tips for Ladder Inspection

Make sure of the following:
1.     Steps and rungs are all in place, intact and free from grease or oil.
2.     Support braces, bolts and screws are tight and in place.
3.     Metal parts are lubricated.
4.     Rope is not worn or frayed.
5.     Locking device or spreaders are in place.
6.     Safety feet are in place.
7.     Metal ladders are not dented or bent.

If the ladder has any defects, tag it and remove it from service immediately.
Want to know more?

Accident Fund is committed to providing our policyholders unrivaled loss-control services and online safety materials, including:
• Safety-training modules accessible 24/7 for policyholders’ employees
• Loss-control booklets and other printed materials available to print and order from our website
• Low-cost safety-training videos from our online library

If you’re an Accident Fund policyholder, log onto our website at and check out our WorkSafe Toolbox and other available safety tools.

If you’re not a customer, click here to find an Accident Fund agent near you!

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