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Shop Hazards

Damaged and Misused Ladders

Even well-constructed ladders are inherently dangerous due to the fact that they are used to work from elevated heights.  To be safe, the ladder needs to be set up correctly.  Preferably on a flat and level surface.  When this is not possible, usually adjustments can be taken to set the ladder up safely.  However, if the ladder is damaged or used incorrectly, the risk of injury increases significantly.

Ladders should be inspected thoroughly before each use.  Look for cracks in the side rails, bent or broken rungs, missing screws or bolts, missing braces and worn non-slip surfaces.  Be sure the ladder is free of dirt and mud, which can hide damaged areas.

To avoid misuse, make sure you are using the correct ladder for the job.  Make sure you are using the correct length ladder for the job.  If you are having to stand on the top two rungs of the ladder, this is an indication the ladder is not long enough for the job.

Don’t lean out too far when using a ladder.  Maintain you belt buckle between the ladder rails as a way of maintaining your balance.

Most importantly, observe the 3 point contact rule when using a ladder.  That is, always have at least two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder at all times.  Never descend the ladder facing outward.