Day 3 National Stand-Down for Fall Protection. Portable Ladder Safety.
Day 1 and 2 dealt with the Hierarchy of Controls, Inspection, and the ABC’s of Fall Protection. Day 3 is Ladder Safety. Recently I did a ladder safety class for a client and brought my own ladders. On the way home I picked up my daughter who was 3-years old at the time. She asked why I had ladders in my truck. I told her I was teaching people how to safely climb ladders. She then said “People really don’t know how to use ladders?” It surprised her but it also surprises many people that their employees do not know how to use ladders.
Some general rules on ladders:
· First make sure that it is legal for your employees to use the ladders. In some states like Colorado minors (under 18) are not allowed to work at height. Working on ladders is considered working at height.
· Inspect the ladder prior to use. Like in our previous discussions, if there is not a written log or checklist then regulators or accident investigators will not believe you when you say “The ladder was inspected, honest.”
· For Step Ladder inspections check:
o Steps. Are they loose, cracked, bent, or missing?
o Rails. Are they cracked bent, split or frayed rail shields?
o Pail Shelf. Is it missing, bent, loose or broken?
o Top. Is it cracked, loose or missing?
o Spreader. Is it loose, bent or broken?
o General. Rust, corrosion or loose?
o Other. Bracing, shoes, or rivets damaged?
· For Extension ladders check:
o Rungs. Are they loose, cracked, bent, or missing?
o Rails. Are they cracked, bent, split, or frayed?
o Labels. Are they missing or not readable?
o Rung Locks. Loose, bent, missing, or broken?
o Hardware. Damage, loose or missing?
o Shoes. Worn, broken, or missing?
o Rope/Pully. Loose, bent or broken?
o Other. Bracing rivets present? Rusty, corrosion or loose parts?
· Make sure that all ladder labels are on the ladder. According to a major ladder manufacturer, the instructions on how to use a ladder are on the labels. It is also the one of the first things on the ladder checklists from the manufacturer. If the labels are missing, do not use the ladder. Labels are widely available from online suppliers.
Fixed ladder regulations recently changed, but in general you want to verify the attachments to the structure are intact and in good repair, the steps are attached. Depending on the ladder there may need to be an attachment for sternal D-rings, rest stops, and other requirements.