Portable ladders account for many falls each year, but they are often an important piece of equipment used in many different professions. If you use one in the course of your work, it is essential that you make sure you understand how to do so safely.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration explains safety starts with ensuring you read all safety material accompanying the ladder, including stickers and labels on the ladder. There are some other general safety tips you should keep in mind.
Use in a safe space
You want to only use a portable ladder on a stable surface where you have enough overhead clearance. Make sure you avoid any electrical lines and always check that the ground is level. If the ladder is not level, always secure it properly before climbing it.
Never place a ladder on top of anything to make it higher. Get another ladder if you need more height. You also want to ensure you have proper support at the top if you will lean the ladder against your workspace. Allow three feet of the ladder to extend above the surface used to support it.
You want to avoid ever using the top three rungs of the ladder. Also, ensure it is at the right angle when leaning against a support structure. Make sure to lock all locks on an extension ladder and pay attention to the load limits. Remember to account for your tools and other equipment.
It is also important to always use the 3-point contact. This means you have three parts of your body connecting with the ladder, either two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand. Never use a damaged ladder and always climb it with your body facing inwards.
Using a portable ladder can be very safe as long as you understand the safety guidelines.