Because March is National Ladder Safety Month, spring is a good time to remember the risks that often come with working on or near ladders. After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that ladder-related falls account for nearly 500,000 injuries and 300 deaths every single year.
While ladder accidents happen for many reasons, working on an old, damaged or inappropriate ladder may cause you to sustain a serious injury. Therefore, before stepping onto your work ladder, you should fully inspect it for possible damage or other safety issues.
1. Look for loose rungs
When you begin your ladder inspection, look for loose or wobbly rungs. To do so, place the ladder on the ground and wiggle each rung. If there is any movement, the ladder may not be safe.
2. Check nuts, bolts and other hardware
Even if rungs feel secure, a faulty nut, screw or bolt may snap when you step on the ladder. Therefore, carefully inspect the ladder’s hardware for stripping, stress cracks or other damage.
3. Examine the ladder’s feet
Many ladders have non-slip feet for stability. Examine these feet for any signs of wear and tear. If the feet have worn grips, the ladder may slide under your weight.
4. Pay attention to decay
If you work with wooden ladders, yours may have dry rot, decay or even termite damage. Accordingly, you should check all parts of the ladder for deterioration.
5. Usage instructions
All ladders have weight restrictions and other limitations that appear on stickers. If instructions are missing, you may inadvertently use a ladder in a dangerous way.
If your inspection reveals missing usage instructions or other safety concerns, stay away from the ladder until you make necessary repairs. Then, notify your coworkers to ensure they remain safe.