Ladder Usage and Inspections
Date Posted: 01/28/2019
It is always a good idea to inspect any tools or equipment before you start using them, but ladder inspections are mandatory. Employees must inspect ladders before each use and per the manufacturer guidelines.
The manufacturer has a label or sticker with instructions on how to use the ladder and the weight capacity on the ladder. Make sure the labels are always available and can be read.
Inspection warning signs
When employees climb a ladder, it should not wobble. If it is wobbly, it may mean that the ladder is not strong enough for the weight of the employee and any carried equipment. A stronger ladder or a different type of ladder will need to be used.
A wobble could also mean that the ladder might be damaged and should not be used. Inspect the ladder for damage. The ladder should not have any bent rungs or cracks. If the ladder is damaged then it needs to be taken out of service, fixed, or disposed of. Depending on the ladder height and how high the employee is on the ladder, the employee could suffer serious injuries.
Using ladders safely
Remind employees that they should not use different types of ladders to make up one ladder. Always use the same ladder design materials from the same manufacturer when putting together a ladder. Always use ladder extensions from the same manufacturer; do not mix and match ladder parts.
Make sure employees are following the weight limits on the ladders, and including the weight of any worn equipment while using the ladder.
Remind employees that they should always use a ladder that safely reaches the height they need, and not to work from the top step on the ladder. The ladder should be placed at an angle that always extends at least a quarter of the working height of the ladder. The ladder rungs should also be skid resistant so employees do not slip and fall when climbing the ladder.
If using a straight ladder, tell employees that there should always be 3 feet or 3 rungs above the working surface. The extra height will help them to get on top of the roof and use the last steps as support to get them from the ladder to the working surface.