Portable ladders are used throughout Humber to accomplish a variety tasks. While those using ladders may not always be mindful of the risks involved, injury statistics unfortunately show that hazards do exist. Injuries associated with ladder usage include injuries sustained from falling off a ladder or by tripping over a ladder that is erect or lying on the floor. Injuries have also resulted from being struck by materials falling off a ladder and from bringing a ladder in contact with live electrical wires.
To minimize the risk, the following guidelines should be adhered to when using portable ladders:
- inspect the ladder before each use; check to make sure the ladder does not have any broken, loose or missing parts or other faults
- if the ladder is damaged, do not use it – take it out of service and tag it so that others will know that it is damaged and must not be used
- use only ladders that have non-slip feet
- never paint any portion of a ladder
- when using a ladder make sure that it is on firm, level footing
- if the ladder exceeds six meters in length and is not securely fastened or is likely to be endangered by pedestrian or vehicular traffic, it should be held in place by one or more workers
- when not securely fastened, the incline of the ladder should be such that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is not less than ¼ and no more than 1/3 of the length of the ladder.
- face the ladder when climbing up or down and maintain three-point contact by keeping two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times
- keep the centre of your body within the side rails and do not overreach from the ladder
- ensure extension ladders extend at least a metre beyond the edge of the working surface
- only one person should climb a ladder at a time
- do not carry objects in your hands while on a ladder; use a tool belt or hoist up materials once you have reached the top
- get help when carrying a heavy ladder rather than trying to struggle with it yourself
- check for electrical wires before setting up a ladder and keep ladders well away from wires
Many of the rules that apply to straight, or extension ladders, also apply to stepladders. Never stand on the top step or pail shelf. Open the legs fully and lock the braces. The treads on the stepladder should be made of non-slip martial. Do not use a stepladder as a straight ladder. The use of a platform type stepladder with side rails is recommended to provide safer support and more stable working surfaces.
All ladders must meet the most current Canadian Standards Association (CSA) guidelines for their use and maintenance.