24 Tips on Step Ladder Safety

Accident statistic shows that a third of all reported falls from height involves ladders and step ladders (thompsons-scotland.co.uk). At least three hundred people a year die in simple falls from ladders (safety-engineer.com).

step-laddersThere must be something wrong with the usage of step ladder if we look at both statistics. In simple word, workers have ignored step ladder safety which could save them from injuries and death due to fall accidents.

Step ladder usage in chemical plant operation will increase during turn around (yearly preventive maintenance) and construction work. Or sometimes step ladder is used when workers need to repair equipment or piping on an elevated area.

So that’s why this article is written in order to give you some helpful tips on step ladder safety. Those practicable tips cover about usage, placement, transportation and preventive maintenance of step ladder.

  1. When purchasing step ladder, purchase only industrial standard step ladder and the price should not influence the purchase decision.
  2. Check for damage, especially around the feet of the ladder including any cracks and loose pieces.
  3. Check the rubber boot. Make sure it is not brittle and lose the ability to grip the surface.
  4. Ensure that the locking devices at the top are complete and in good condition.
  5. All locks have to be installed properly and function well.
  6. Make sure the surface for placing step ladder is not wet and slip free.
  7. Proper footwear with good tread should always be worn when climbing on step ladder.
  8. Step ladder is only used in a fully open position.
  9. Make sure step ladder are placed on level ground and all the feet are on dry, firm and flat surface.
  10. Ensure no people working under or around the ladder. Let other people know that you are working on top.
  11. The ground area around the step ladder has to be kept clean and free from traffics.
  12. Always remember that the highest standing level is 2 steps down from top.
  13. Always keep your body centered on the middle of the step ladder.
  14. Step ladder should be kept clean from slippery material, paint, cement, adhesive and sealant.
  15. Do not lean to reach equipments or items as standing on the ladder.
  16. Use goggle to avoid foreign matter comes to your eyes. If this happens, you could fall.
  17. If necessary, someone accompanies you when you work on step ladder.
  18. While climbing up or down the step ladder, lifting and carrying heavy equipments or items have to be avoided.
  19. For electrical work, use only step ladder that is made of non-conductive material such as rubber.
  20. Using step ladder as work platform support is prohibited.
  21. When working on step ladder, always face the step ladder steps.
  22. Step ladder is prohibited to be used for accessing into a higher work area.
  23. Never place step ladder on scaffold to achieve extra height.
  24. Put safety line or proper barrier around the step ladder if it is used in corridors or driveways to avoid hitting by persons or vehicle.

Never underestimate the hazard of using step ladder even though you use it infrequently and may think it is not dangerous as scaffold. Read and follow all the step ladder safety tips above to prevent fall accident from step ladder.

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