According to OSHA, all falls account for 37% of fatalities. Falls from ladders killed 19 workers in the construction trades in Washington State between 1998 and 2011.
Guidelines When Using Step Ladders
- Inspect the ladder before use for physical defects such as loose joints, grease on steps, or missing, damaged, rubber feet.
- Always set all four feet of a stepladder on a level, solid, firm surface.
- When using a stepladder, make sure it is fully opened and the spreaders are locked in place.
- Do not use a stepladder as a straight ladder.
- Never climb the back section of a stepladder. This is not designed to climb or support your weight.
- You must prohibit standing or stepping on these areas of the ladder; top cap and top step, and bucket or pail shelf.
- Do not straddle the front and back of a stepladder.
- Fall protection may be needed if working next to a guard rail.
Safe Work Practices
- Check the area above and below prior to ascending or descending a ladder and be aware of any dangers that could result in injury. Always face a ladder while going up and coming down.
- Keep your waist within the boundary of the side rails. Never reach out past the ladder side rails.
- Always climb a ladder with both hands. Do not carry tools up or down a ladder. Use a rope or a tool bag to lower and raise tools.
- Be sure that both the ladder and your shoes are dry, and free of grease, wet paint, etc.
- Do not try to move, hop, or walk a ladder while on it.
- Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
- Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
- Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.
Questions for Discussion
- Have you ever fallen from a ladder?
- Were you standing on the top steps?