Safety Tips : Ladder Safety Rules

Ladders are great pieces of equipment. Nearly everyone has one at home or in the workplace. However, it may pose a threat to an individual’s safety if not used correctly.

1. Choose the right ladder : Different types of ladders have different uses. Each ladder type have a different load rating. When choosing the most suitable ladder for the job, it is important to consider the weight of the person climbing the ladder plus the weight of the tools, materials, and equipment.

2. Check for damages or issues before each use : Over time a ladder may acquire issues that may lead to it being unreliable. A competent person should be assigned to visually inspect ladders for defects periodically. Below are some defects you should look out for: 

  • Structural damage, split/bent side rails, broken or loose rungs, steps, rails or braces. Other than that, loose screws, bolts, hinges, and other hardware parts
  • Grease, dirt, or other contaminants that can result to slips or falls.
  • Paint or stickers that might hide defects (Warning or safety labels not included). 

If a ladder has been identified with defects, it’s best to have it repaired or replaced.

3. Ensure physical capability of using a ladder : A person using a ladder should be someone who has the capability of carrying out physical tasks. Physical capability is usually measured by one’s grip strength, walking speed, chair rising, and standing balance times. Employees should train workers to recognize ladder-related hazards to minimize accidents. 

4. Set up the ladder on a flat and stable surface : Ladders should be placed on a firm and level surface for stability. The surface should be able to support the weight of the ladder and the person using it. In any case that the ground is soft, devices such as leg levelers, anti-slip gutter guards, wide boards, or stabilizers can be used. 

5. Set up in a safe place : It is important to be mindful of the surroundings when setting up a ladder. The surrounding area should be uncluttered and free of obstructions. If a ladder needs to be set up in a driveway or passageway, barriers and signages, or a person assisting should be present.

6. Never lean or reach away from the ladder : Leaning and reaching away when in the ladder makes it unstable and puts the person in the ladder at risk of falling. To prevent falls, descend and then move the ladder. 

7. Always maintain a three point of contact : When climbing or descending the ladder, the three points of contact should be observed for a secure handhold on the ladder. The three points of contact refers to two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.  

8. Only take small items up or down a ladder : Always consider the load limits of the ladder in use. Carrying anything larger or heavier than what the ladder can take will make it unstable. The person in the ladder will be unable to maintain a three point of contact resulting to a fall and injury. 

9. Apply the 1:4 rule : When using leaning ladders like an extension ladder, the position of the ladder should be angled at a ratio of 1:4. The base of the ladder being 1 meter away from the structure for every meter height of 4.

10. Climb down cautiously : Remain facing the ladder while maintaining the three points of contact when dissenting the ladder. Do it slowly; avoiding any sudden movements. 

You can get more training from RCL Safety Centre thru https:

At RCL Safety Centre this training is also available in different Nigerian languages like PIDGIN,YORUBA,HAUSA AND IGBO

Our company (RCL Safety Centre) is an indigenous company dedicated to Health, Safety and Environment Training and Services.

We are technical partners of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) as well as approved training partners of most major International Occupational Safety and Health organizations like NEBOSH, and corporate members of ISPON (Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria) with thousands of personnel trained in various areas till date.

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