National Ladder Safety Month is dedicated to ladder safety at home and at work. This important month was designed to raise awareness of ladder safety and to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities.
ALI (the American Ladder Institute) believes ladder accidents are preventable. However, fatalities will continue to occur without better safety planning and training and continuous innovation in product design.
The goals of National Ladder Safety Month are to:
- Decrease number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities
- Increase the number of ladder safety training certificates issued by ALI
- Increase the frequency that ladder safety training modules are viewed on www.laddersafetytraining.org
- Lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s yearly “Top 10 Citations List”
- Increase the number of in-person ladder trainings
- Increase the number of companies and individuals that inspect and properly dispose of old, damaged or obsolete ladders.
2022 National Ladder Safety Month’s four key themes:
Week One: Choosing Your Ladder
When choosing a ladder, take into account the work environment.
For example, if there are sources of electricity nearby, do not use a metal/aluminum ladder. Evaluate the surface on which the ladder rests to make sure it is even. The work environment will help determine the type of ladder needed — self-supporting stepladder or non-self-supporting single or extension ladder.
Furthermore, consider the length of ladder needed because it is dangerous to use a ladder that is too long or too short. For example, when using a step ladder, it is unsafe to stand on the top cap as it increases the likelihood of balance being lost. Likewise, when using an extension ladder, the top three rungs are not for climbing. An extension ladder is too long if it extends more than 3 feet beyond the upper support point.
Pay attention to the “duty rating” of a ladder. The “duty rating” is the total amount of weight a ladder can support. A taller ladder does not equate to a higher weight rating.
How to determine the “duty rating” needed for a job:
Person’s Weight + Weight of Person’s Clothing and Protective Equipment +
Weight of Tools and Supplies Being Used = Duty Rating
Week Two: Safety Before the First Step (Inspection and Set Up)
Inspecting ladders before starting any work project is essential. A thorough inspection must be made when the ladder is initially purchased and each time it is used.
The following must be inspected:
• Locks and spreader braces
• Steps and rungs
• Connections and fasteners
• Safety shoes
• Ropes and pulley
Before stepping onto a ladder, do the following:
• Thoroughly inspect the ladder to ensure it is in good working condition.
• Clean the ladder feet as well as the climbing and gripping surfaces.
• Read the safety information label(s) on the ladder.
• Confirm that the ground where the ladder is set-up is firm and level.
• Ensure that any surrounding doors are blocked from opening, locked or guarded.
• If outdoors, ensure the weather is safe for ladder use.
• Clean the shoe soles to maximize traction and avoid slipping.
• Ensure that you are not tired, dizzy or prone to losing balance before using a ladder.
• Use towlines, a tool belt or an assistant to carry materials.
Week Three: Safety While Climbing
Week Four: Safety at the Top
For more information about ladder safety, please watch the video below.