Safe Use of Ladders

Safe Use of Ladders

Ladder safety should not just specify types of ladders for certain jobs but also establish rules for the safe use and maintenance of this equipment.  Care in the use of ladders, to assure safety and serviceability, should include the following:

Keep the joint between the steps and side rails tight; keep all hardware and fittings securely attached.  Keep movable parts operating freely without binding or undue play in the connections.

Oil hinges, locks, etc., frequently.  Keep safety feet and other safety devices in good condition.

Store ladders where they can be easily reached and inspected, where they will be protected from the elements.  Do not store them near stoves, steam pipes or other sources of excessive heat or dampness.

Inspect ladders frequently.  Those with defects should be withdrawn from service for repair or destruction. Keep rungs or steps free of grease and oil.

Proper pitch of a ladder is obtained when the horizontal ground distance from directly below the top support to the foot of the ladder is one quarter of the length of the ladder itself.  Place the feet of the ladder solidly to prevent slipping. Lash (tie off) the ladder or have someone hold it in position.  Never use ladders horizontally as platforms, runways or scaffolds.

Do not splice ladders together or place ladders on boxes, barrels, or other unstable bases to try to obtain additional heights.

Do not place ladders in front of doors opening toward the ladder unless the door has been blocked open, locked or guarded.

Do not use ladders as braces, skids, or for any other purpose than as a ladder.

To access a landing, the ladder should extend at least 3 feet above the support point at the landing.

Equip all portable rung ladders with non-slip bases when there is a hazard of slipping.  Remember, non-slip bases are not a substitute for safety in placing, lashing, or holding a ladder on oil, metal, concrete or other slippery surfaces.

When conditions warrant, hooks may be attached at or near the top of portable ladders to give added security.

Use of a Ladder around the Rig:

  1. Start out with a good, solid, undamaged ladder of proper length for the job to be performed.
  2. Make certain that you have a good firm solid base to set the base of the ladder on. If the base is slick or slippery for any reason, you must have one or more helpers hold the base while the ladder is in use.
  3. Do not reach or attempt to extend yourself away from the ladder more than a normal distance.
  4. Muddy, greasy or oily steps or rungs of a ladder should be cleaned before using.
  5. Remember, ladders are designed to carry one man, based on a 200-pound load.
  6. It is better to grasp the sides of the ladder when climbing up and down rather than the rungs, or steps.
  7. Always face a ladder with your body centered when climbing up or down.
  8. Climb the ladder carefully, facing it. Using both hands, keep three-point contact at all times.
  9. Use a tool belt or hand line to carry materials.
  10. Do not use a ladder with missing or broken steps, rungs or cleats, broken or bent side rails or other faulty equipment. Do not attempt to improvise repairs.
  11. Never let your belt buckle pass beyond either ladder rail. If something is out of reach, get down and move the ladder.
  12. Do not use the tops of ordinary stepladders as steps or platforms.  The top two steps should not be used to gain extra height.