The 5 most important ladder safety laws
Safety should be top priority for everyone in the construction industry. Understanding ladder safety laws can save lives on construction sites.
OSHA has stairway and ladder safety standards in place to prevent injuries on the job site. While there are many ladder regulations OSHA lists, here are the top five that you should always keep in mind to ensure a safe working environment
- Avoid electrical hazards.
Never place a metal ladder near a power line. Scope out the area where you plan to set up your ladder to make sure there are no power lines or exposed wires. You should carry your ladder horizontally to avoid accidentally tapping a power line.
- Always maintain a three-point contact on the ladder when climbing.
As you climb, you should always have at least both feet and one hand resting on the ladder. This will prevent slipping and falling. Keep your body in the middle of the ladder while facing the rungs. Only break the three points of contact when you’ve reached the ground or a stable surface.
- Be aware of slipping hazards.
This includes not placing a ladder on slippery ground and making sure the ladder is free of slippery substances like grease and oil. While it’s common for a ladder on a construction site to be dirty or dusty, grease and oil can lead to an ugly accident.
- Only use ladders on stable and level surfaces.
This may not always seem possible on a construction site. However, ladders should always make direct contact with stable ground, and you should never prop a ladder on an unstable surface, like stairs or a stack of wood.
- Don’t carry an object or load that can cause you to lose your balance.
This comes back to always having three points of contact when you climb a ladder. If you need to use two hands to carry an object up a ladder, then it’s a safety hazard. If the object is small enough, leave it in your tool belt. If it’s large, use a pulley system.
Falls are the No. 1 cause of fatalities on construction sites. Keep yourself and your workers safe by being aware of ladder and stairway regulations. For more information on ladder safety, check out OSHA’s ladder safety page.
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