When’s the Last Time you Checked Your Ladders & Scaffolds?
Friday, October 18, 2019 Michele Pratt
Hundreds of construction workers are killed yearly as a result of improper setups or dangerous behavior. The good news is that many of these incidents can be prevented. You can find volumes of information in regulations, but here are some quick tips to ensure your safety and compliance:
- Determine the height you need to reach and the proper equipment for the task at hand.
- Evaluate how much weight the equipment will need to be held, and if a ladder is adequate. Would a scaffold be a better choice?
- Look to determine if there are electrical wires above your work area, and plan placement of equipment accordingly.
- Inspect your ladder or scaffold prior to use to ensure it is in good working order. This means no broken rungs, stickers have remained intact and are legible on ladders for use.
- Confirm that your ladder rungs, steps, and cleats are compliant with minimum clearance standards set forth by OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration), ANSI (American Nationals Standards Institute) and ASC (American Standards Committee).
- Ladder rungs and steps should be free of grease and oil. They should also have slip resistant treads
- Scaffolds should be in good working order, and will be (or have been) erected by a qualified person with appropriate skill set.
- Use proper PPE (personal protective equipment), slip-resistant footwear, and, based on the environment, steel toe or composite boots or shoes, hardhats, and reflective clothing.
- Only one person should be utilizing the ladder at a time.
- Do not carry loose tools, use a tool belt while on a ladder.
- Only use ladders and scaffolds on stable level surfaces.
- Read the weight limits for your ladder on how much they can safely hold.
- Supported scaffolds require being able to hold four times their intended load. Ropes for suspended scaffolds require being able to hold six times their intended load weight.
Inspect your ladder or scaffold before each use to safeguard yourself and fellow workers a safe return home.
Sources: Osha.gov: nsc.org; grainger.com; employerflexible.com
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