Work Smart. Work Safe.
Keep your "Heads Up" and work safe!

It may look like a simple thing but it can be deadly

By Theresa Trant

I came home from work the other day and noticed this in my backyard:

 

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Yes that is a ladder sitting in our sons’ old tree house. I guess my husband decided to do some tree trimming and this was his solution to reaching the higher branches. Looks a little scary and unstable, doesn’t it?

At the dinner table I mentioned this unique tree trimming structure. The boys laughed; my husband looked a little sheepish. I took this as an opportunity to talk about ladder safety and how, while the ladder can be considered a relatively simple piece of equipment, it can be deadly. In fact just recently an acquaintance of a friend of mine fell off a ladder, struck his head and died instantly.

Probably one of the most common mistakes made with a ladder is being in a rush and not securing it properly.

Another common mistake is not following the three point contact rule. This rule means you have both hands gripping the ladder along with one foot on the ladder step at all times. Carrying something in one hand (perhaps a coffee or paint can?) is not three point contact.

Have a look at these creative ways to use a ladder; they are accidents waiting to happen:

Be careful. Here are some safety tips to know about when using a ladder:

  •  Before using a ladder, especially a ladder that has been stored in the garage for a while, inspect it for cracks or broken joints.
  • Place your ladder on a stable, even, flat surface. Never place a ladder on top of another object.
  • Use the 1:4 ratio to ensure a stable working platform. Place the base of the ladder one foot away from whatever it leans against for every four feet of height to the point where the ladder contacts at the top (see graphic).
  • If climbing onto another surface, make sure the ladder extends at least three feet past the platform you’re climbing onto.
  • Secure tall ladders by lashing or fastening the ladder to prevent movement.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing or descending.
  • Keep both feet on the ladder – never put one foot on a rung and the other foot on a different surface.
  • Do not climb higher than the second rung on stepladders or the third rung on straight or extension ladders.
  • Never stand on the top or the paint shelf of a stepladder.
  • Keep your belt buckle (if you have one) positioned between the rungs so it doesn’t catch.
  • When working with electricity, use a ladder made of wood or fiberglass.

Remember while the ladder make look simple to use, it should be used with safety in mind at all times.

Have a good weekend everyone. Work smart; work safe.

 

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