Each year there are dozens of serious incidents where workers have fallen from ladders. Most of these incidents involve a ladder being used incorrectly or inappropriately.
Only use ladders for simple access jobs, or for a short duration. It’s best to work from the ground whenever possible.
Consider other options like scaffolding or and elevated work platform. If there is no other option, the following precautions can help you avoid injury:-
- Choose the right ladder for the job. It should meet Australian Standards and the load requirements of the job.
- An A-Frame or Extension Ladder may be appropriate for some tasks but a platform ladder is safer.
- Inspect the ladder for damage before each use.
- Only use a ladder if you are physically-capable of doing so.
- Always set up the ladder on a flat, stable surface. If this is not possible then use a ladder that includes ladder safety devices.
- Always maintain 3 points of contact when climbing or descending a ladder. This means 2 hands and one foot or 2 feet and 1 hand.
- Only take small items up or down a ladder.
- Never lean or reach away from the ladder while using it.
- The combined weight of the person using the ladder and any tools should never exceed the working load on the ladder.
- A-frame ladders should only be used when locked in the fully-open position.
- If you’re using an extension ladder, secure it at the top, bottom or both. If this is not possible then have somebody hold the ladder in place while you are on the ladder.
- Extension ladders should be angled at a ratio of 1:4. That is, position the base of the ladder 1 metre away from the structure for every 4 mtrs of height.
- Do not climb or work past the second-last rung of a ladder and never straddle the top of an A-frame ladder.
- When climbing down, remain facing the ladder and climb to the bottom rung before stepping off.
Using a ladder at home can be very dangerous especially for the inexperienced or the elderly. Please always have somebody observing and helping you.
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