Prioritize safety when it comes to ladder use


James Harris, MD

Ladders are a common tool in various settings, from construction sites to home maintenance tasks. However, improper use can lead to serious accidents and injuries. Understanding ladder safety is essential for anyone who uses them. Riverwood would like to remind you to follow the guide below to ensure safe ladder usage.

Choose the right ladder. Before even starting to climb, it’s crucial to select the appropriate ladder for the task at hand. Consider factors such as height, weight capacity, and material. Ensure the ladder is in good condition, with no broken rungs or defects that could compromise safety.

Set the ladder up safely. Proper setup is paramount for ladder safety. Always place the ladder on a firm, level surface, and use leg levelers or ladder stabilizers if necessary. If working outdoors, be wary of unstable ground and consider using a ladder with non-slip feet.

Maintain three points of contact. When climbing a ladder, always maintain three points of contact: two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. This ensures stability and reduces the risk of falls. Avoid carrying heavy or bulky objects while climbing; use a tool belt or pulley system instead.

Follow weight limits. Every ladder has a weight limit specified by the manufacturer. Exceeding this limit can lead to structural failure and accidents. Always check the weight capacity of the ladder and never carry more weight than recommended.

Use proper climbing techniques. When ascending or descending a ladder, do so slowly and deliberately. Face the ladder and grip the rungs firmly, keeping your body centered between the side rails. Never lean too far to one side or overreach, as this can cause the ladder to tip over.

Beware of overhead hazards. Before setting up a ladder, survey the area for overhead hazards such as power lines, tree branches, or ceiling fixtures. Maintain a safe distance to avoid accidental contact, which could result in electric shocks or falling objects.

Inspect regularly. Regular inspection and maintenance are essential for ladder safety. Check for signs of wear and tear, such as rust, corrosion, or loose fittings. Replace any damaged or defective ladders immediately to prevent accidents.

“Whether at work or home, by following ladder safety guidelines and staying vigilant, we can minimize the risk of ladder-related injuries and accidents,” Dr. James Harris, Emergency Department physician, added.  “Remember, taking the time to prioritize safety is always worth it in the long run.”