A very useful yet often times neglected piece of equipment in industries, farms, homes, and in stores, is the ladder. Ladders can even be found being carried around on vehicles. There are fixed ladders and portable ladders. There are extension ladders, single ladders, combination ladders, and step ladders just to name a few. All ladders come with certain restrictions and guidelines.
With portable ladders, the guidelines and restrictions are usually affixed on the side rails of the ladder on decals. The decals need to be ledge able in order for the operator to know the proper use and limits of the ladder for safe use.
After visiting several web sites about ladder safety and the OSHA Manual, I compiled some information for stepladder safety. Please read the information carefully and use it as a guide to look over the step ladders at your location. There are of course several different kinds of ladders which all have specific guidelines to follow, but several safety precautions remain in effect for all types of ladders. Be sure to look for worn or missing decals on the side rails. Work safely.
A self-supporting portable ladder that is non-adjustable in length, with flat steps and a hinged design for ease of storage. It is intended for use by one person.
· Range in size from 3’ to 20’ in length. (3’ or less is considered a step stool)
· Highest standing level on a stepladder is slightly more than 2’ below top of ladder
· Highest standing level is to be marked on label on side of ladder
· Maximum work height is established by adding user height and reach to highest standing level marked on ladder. (Assume a 5’6” person with a 12” reach)
· All ladders used in outside operations should be TYPE I or greater. 250# (TYPE II is acceptable for office use)
· Top cap (no climbing or standing)
· Top step (no climbing or standing)
· Rear side rails ( climbing or non climbing)
· Front side rails
· Anti slip safety shoes/feet
· All four side rails require to be on level ground support
If ground is not level, a different ladder should be selected
· A stepladder must not be used unless its base is spread fully open and the spreaders locked.
· Stepladders are not to be used as single ladders or in the partially open position.
· To prevent the ladder from tipping over sideways due to over-reaching, the user must climb or work with the body near the middle of the ladder. (belt buckle within rails)
· Never attempt to move the ladder without first descending, relocating the ladder and then re-climbing. Do not attempt to mount the ladder from the side or step from one ladder to another unless the ladder is secured against the sideways motion.
· In an effort to avoid losing your balance and falling off the stepladder, the user must not step or stand higher than the step indicated on the label marking the highest standing level. The user must also not step or stand on the Top Cap or bucket/pail shelf.
· When ascending or descending the ladder, always face the ladder, and maintain a firm hand hold. Do not attempt to carry other objects in your hand while climbing. (tool pouch)
· The braces on the rear of the stepladder are not intended for climbing or standing and must not be used for that purpose. (unless ladder is designed for such use)
· The anti -slip feet at the bottom of the stepladder side rails must be present and in good condition prior to using the ladder. The ladder must not be used on ice, snow or slippery surfaces unless suitable means to prevent slipping is employed.
· A stepladder must never be placed upon other objects such as boxes, barrels, scaffolds, or other unstable bases in an effort to obtain additional height.
· A thorough inspection must be made when the ladder is initially purchased and each time it is placed into service. Clean the climbing and gripping surfaces if they have been subjected to oil, grease or slippery materials. Working parts, bolts, rivets, step-to-side rail connections, and the condition of the anti-slip feet (safety shoes) shall be checked. If structural damage, missing parts, or any other hazardous defect is found, the ladder must not be placed into service and either discarded or competently repaired.
Ladders with bent or broken side rails must be destroyed.
In the event a ladder is discarded, it must be destroyed in such a manner as to render it useless. Another person must not be afforded the opportunity to use a ladder that has been deemed unsafe.