Ladder Safety Tips for a Step Ladder

Ladder safety starts at home. The habits of the family are generally passed onto the children. One of those habits is the use and often misuse of a Step Ladder.

Even a Step Ladder can be dangerous if common sense is not used. There are 160,000 reported injuries each year from ladders, many of these would be due to lack of precautions and safety. Unfortunately many injuries result in the user being seriously injured even becoming a paraplegic or quadriplegic.

Personal Experiences with Ladders:

Step Ladder: The next door neighbor was painting his front porch ceiling using a 6 foot aluminum step ladder. He had a drop sheet under the ladder to protect the floor tiles. The ladder slipped, he fell and injured his spine and became a paraplegic. After many operations he lived his life in a wheelchair and passed away a few years later.

His fall was only a few feet, but his life and his families lives were changed forever from a simple accident.

Extension Ladder: This time it was a happy outcome. I had a roof plumber repairing the roof. His extension ladder was propped against the house, he went for his morning tea break. My three year old son decided to be one of the guys. The tradesman came back from his tea break, looked up and saw the three year old walking along the ridge capping. The tradesman very calmly called me, pointed to the roof. We treated it like a game, the tradesman climbed onto the roof, I calmly talked my son over him, who scooped him up, carried him down to safety. The tradesman and I looked at each other, swore, let a sigh of relief out and thanked God for keeping my son safe.

Ladders are an essential piece of equipment for some many places and so many uses like:

at home – changing light bulbs, cleaning gutters, painting

the trades person – from electricians to carpenters to painters

the warehouse – for stacking goods, general maintenance

industrial and building sites – for trades people…the list is almost endless.

The concern with using ladders is the potential to fall.

Ladder Safety Tips – NEVER:

1) stand on the top step – the stress on the ladder can make it wobble

2) over reach – a good tip is always keep your belt buckle within the rails of the ladder

3) attempt to move the ladder whilst standing on it – this method is called “walking

4) place ladder under electrical cables – especially aluminum step ladders, metal is a conductor of electricity, so is the human body. Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder.

5) place on un-stable, un-level, wet or slippery surfaces, this is a disaster waiting to happen, just as my friend’s unfortunate experience shared above

6) use when injured, tired or under the influence of substances including medication

7) leave any ladder unattended – as my example above, children love to climb.

Ladder Safety Tips – ALWAYS:

1) fully open the ladder – don’t prop it against a wall and climb it, a step ladder is not designed for this purpose

2) secure the braces – Hint: the braces are there for a reason

3) climb to the first step, stop and ensure the ladder is stable by giving it a gentle wobble

4) always retain hold onto the ladder with at least one hand and wear good robust shoes

5) remove tools on the top of the ladder, especially screwdrivers, chisels, hammers, knives even paint. It is so easy to forget there are items on the top of ladder, if the ladder is moved, something hard, sharp or wet could be coming down on top of you or your surroundings very soon

6) make sure the ladder can take your weight plus any additional items like tools

7) work with someone else around, in case there is an accident immediate help is nearby

Follow these ladder safety tips for step ladders and enjoy a safe work environment.