This March marks the fourth annual National Ladder Safety Month, promoted by the American Ladder Institute (ALI). The ALI is a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting safe ladder use. The ALI is comprised of members from the US and Canada who are ladder manufacturers and manufacturers of ladder components.
National Ladder Safety Month 2020 focuses on five key themes:
- February 23 – February 29: What is Ladder Safety?
- March 1 – 7: Ladder Safety Training and Year Round Partners
- March 8 – 14: Ladder Safety at Work
- March 15 – 21: Ladder Safety at Home
- March 22 – 28: Ladder Inspection and Disposal
Ladder incidents caused injuries to nearly 900 workers in Washington State in 2019. Improper ladder use ranked 8th among the state’s top 10 workplace safety and health violations for all industries.
Ladder Safety at Work
Common causes of workplace ladder-related incidents include:
- Lack of ladder safety training.
- The ladder used is in bad condition.
- The ladder moves, falls over, or is set up improperly.
- The worker slips on the rungs, overreaches, or carries objects while climbing the ladder.
- The worker stands on the ladder’s top step.
Tips to Help Keep Workers Safe While Using Ladders
Plan for the job:
- Use the right ladder for the job with the proper load capacity.
- Inspect the ladder for defects and remove unsafe ladders from service.
- Use a fiberglass ladder if there is any chance of contact with electricity.
Set your ladder carefully:
- Set the ladder on a firm, level base, and angle it per the manufacturer’s guidance.
- Don’t set the ladder near exit doors or near the path of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
- Make sure the ladder extends 3 feet above the landing.
- When climbing, use three points of contact — keep 1 hand and both feet or both hands and 1 foot in contact with the ladder at all times.
- Never carry any load that could cause you to lose balance.
- Never stand on the top step of a ladder.
- Don’t pull, lean, stretch or make sudden moves on a ladder that could cause it to tip over.
For more information, including a list of trucking-specific training ladder safety training programs, take a look at the Keep Trucking Safe Blog. It is a health and safety blog for the trucking industry published by researchers at KeepTruckingSafe.org in coordination with the Washington state trucking industry.