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Ladder Fall Protection: Workplace Safety Guide

A person follows ladder fall protection rules by stepping carefully down

When your employees use a ladder at work, ladder fall protection techniques provide them with safety and security. Your employees may never think about falling off a ladder when they step onto one, but it is a highly imminent risk associated with using a ladder. 

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to keep your workforce safe and while ladder safety instructions can be found on the side of any ladder on the warning label, it’s important that you provide extra precautions to your employees to properly use a ladder at work. You can substantially reduce the amount of injuries related to frequent ladder use on your worksite by circulating ladder fall protection guidelines.

Take the First Step to Ladder Fall Protection  

According to OSHA, slips and falls from portable ladders such as step, straight, combination, and extension ladders account for one of the leading causes of occupational injuries. If your workforce uses ladders regularly to fulfill job responsibilities, implement a ladder fall protection program to ensure the health and safety of your employees. Not only will you enhance your workforce’s knowledge and compliance with ladder safety instructions, you’ll also motivate them to perform their job activities more efficiently with peace of mind and your support. 

Understand that the best ladder fall protection techniques aren’t always known by every employee in your workforce. Never assume that your employees know even the basics about appropriately using a ladder, as these assumptions lead to imminent accidents or falls without the proper ladder education and knowledge.

With ladder safety instructions displayed throughout your company’s premises with signage or through company-wide email updates, you can also decrease your company’s workers’ compensation expenses. Employees will be more informed about safe ladder usage, leading to fewer injuries in the workplace. 

Focus on keeping your workforce safe and secure by outsourcing your workers’ compensation with a professional employer organization. Learn more about outsourcing workers’ compensation here.

Step-by-Step Guide to Ladder Fall Protection 

Whether your employees use ladders on a daily basis or only on occasion, you can prevent ladder injuries and falls with this resourceful step-by-step guide to ladder fall protection. Make your employees more aware of the hazards associated with using a ladder in the workplace by empowering them with expert knowledge of ladder safety instructions to keep them mindful of tasks at hand. 

1. Ensure the Weather Permits Ladder Usage

If you’re using a ladder outdoors, make sure to avoid using a ladder during windy or inclement weather conditions. Ladder usage should be prohibited in the case of these weather conditions since they can increase the risk of falls or injuries. 

Employers should understand and enforce a ladder safety policy that keeps employees from using ladders in unsafe weather.

2. Choose the Right Ladder

There is no “one size fits all” ladder for tasks. In order to choose an appropriate ladder, check the weight limit and look at the surrounding area where you will be placing the ladder. 

Make sure your employees consider the tools and materials they will be handling while on the ladder into the weight capacity. Otherwise, the ladder will not properly support your employees and their materials. If your employees will be working on or near power lines, choose a fiberglass ladder since metal and wood ladders are susceptible to electricity. 

3. Inspect Your Ladder

Once you’ve chosen your ladder, inspect it for any damage to the locks and make sure there’s no grease or another liquids before use. To check your locks, extend the ladder and push down on the interior support beams between the two bases of the ladder. Choose another ladder if the locks do not secure in place. 

Make sure to wipe away any grease or other substances on your ladder to prevent slips and falls. 

4. Measure and Angle Your Ladder

Your ladder should give you the optimum amount of length to reach your workspace comfortably. Measure your ladder to ensure that you have enough room to work and stay off of the top two rungs of a stepladder and the top three rungs of an extension ladder. 

The angle of your ladder should follow the 4-to-1 rule: For every four feet of ladder height, the base should be one foot away from the wall.

5. Set Up on Even Ground

Never climb on a ladder on uneven ground. An accident is imminent if you set up your ladder on an unsteady surface. All legs of your ladder should make firm contact with the ground in order for you to safely work from the ladder.

Ladder Fall Protection, Workers’ Comp, and More from Canal HR

Canal HR can help you with all of the important parts of workplace safety, including workers’ compensation insurance, compliance, and risk management. 

Contact us today to learn more and to receive a free consultation. Let us help you foster a safer, more compliant work environment.