The Ups and Downs of Ladder/Scaffold Safety

The Ups and Downs of Ladder/Scaffold Safety

23rd December 2020

Every day, millions of people work on ladders and scaffolds. These people encounter the ups and downs of using these pieces of equipment. Unfortunately for them, the downs can be painful and life-threatening. Health and safety experts have come up with recommendations on how to safely use these height-elevating devices. The festive season is here and people are preparing to celebrate the Christmas and Happy New Year in style. Safety ladders and scaffolds may be needed for safe access when preparing the venue for the celebrations, including hanging Christmas lights and images. This article addresses crucial safety practices for using a ladder or scaffold both in the workplace and events at home. Please read on.


  1. Ladder Safety Starts on the Ground

Ladder inspection before every use is very crucial. Defective ladders should be tagged and taken out of service until they’re repaired or replaced. You do not want to discover the issue when you’re midway in the ladder. During the inspection, look for wood splinters, cracks, or moving parts that are misaligned or disconnected, and worn ropes on extension ladders. Check the rungs or steps for looseness and clean any slippery spots. Ensure you’re wearing proper shoes with non-slip surfaces when climbing the ladder. When storing your ladders, ensure step ladders are stored upright and extension ladders stored flat or horizontally on wall hooks to ensure they don’t warp with age. Ladder transportation requires special care; always ensure to maintain a clear vision of the entire device. When carrying the ladder on a vehicle, check for mountings and ensure the ladder is properly laced on the vehicle.


  1. Safety at the Jobsite

Ladders have different weight ratings and are designed for different purposes. It’s crucial to ensure the ladder is up to the task. Scan the working site before lifting into place and using the ladder. Ensure the ladder is stable with both feet on firm ground. If the site has soft grounds, place stable boards beneath the ladder. Stay away from power lines, especially when using metallic ladders. Avoid leaning on the equipment on surfaces that might move and breakthrough. When placing the ladder in front of a door or window, ensure to first keep it shut and firmly locked. Observe the 1 to 4 rule when using the ladder: you should place the ladder horizontally with a quarter of its vertical length from the wall. For instance, a 16-foot ladder should be positioned 4 feet from the wall. When using an extension ladder, allow an overlap of 3 feet between sections and tie its bottom and top to fixed firm points whenever possible to keep them from moving.


  1. Climb the Equipment like a Bear

Climbing the ladder is not as easy as it sounds. You need to be extra careful since a simple mistake can result in serious injuries and damage to property. Always have a 3-point contact with the device with one foot and both hands, or one hand and both feet in contact with the ladder. To climb like a bear, ensure your right foot and hand move simultaneously, then the left foot and hand to follow. It’s a simple strategy, but it can guarantee your safety while using the tool. If the task is beyond your reach, climb down and move the ladder to a perfect position, and do not go above three steps from the top.