By: Alec Schaufenbuel
Ladders are common equipment on construction projects, allowing workers access to work spaces that are not easily reachable from the ground. However, care should always be taken on or around ladders.
Using and climbing ladders is a daily occurrence on jobsites and just as common in routine office maintenance (used for changing light bulbs and seeing above ceiling tiles) and in people’s homes (cleaning gutters or reaching the top shelf of a cabinet). Most people don’t even have to think about the process – you set one up, then climb – easy, simple. Yet, falls account for roughly 40% of all construction related deaths and falling off ladders is the most common way to fall. OHSA listed ladders as their number six most violated standard in 2018.
At Neumann Brothers, we work to make ladder safety a priority on our jobsites, so the ease of a routine doesn’t lead to an injury. Here are just a few ways to make working off a ladder safer for everyone.
• Survey the work area and look for flat surfaces to set the ladder up on.
• Ensure there are no overhead hazards that will block the ladder or your access to the work space.
• Set up all ladders per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
• NEVER carry material up a ladder.
• ALWAYS maintain three points of contact.
• Keep the midpoint of your body within the frame of the ladder.
It’s always a good idea to have another person with you while working off a ladder. They can help with material handling, hazard recognition, and assist with the stability of the ladder if necessary.
Here at Neumann, we don’t allow the use of any step ladders above eight foot unless all other methods of accessing the work have been eliminated. Common sense, awareness of your workspace and mindfulness when setting up and using a ladder will go a long way to reducing accidents involving ladders.