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Topic #14

Use a Ladder Safely

Use a ladder safely.

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In your volunteer work, a ladder can be a daily-use item or just an occasional tool to reach a burnt-out lightbulb. Whether you climb up and down easily or struggle with the first rung, you need to remember that gravity is not your friend. A fall from a ladder can cause serious injury.

The FACTS: What you need to KNOW

  1. In the US, there are over 22,000 work injuries a year due to ladders. In 2020, there were 161 fatalities.
  2. Washington State law requires workplaces to provide ladder training so workers can recognize ladder hazards and minimize them.
  3. Washington State law prohibits youth under 18 from working on a roof or higher than 10 feet above floor level. Youth under 16 may not work on any ladder or scaffold.
  4. Ladders come in a wide range of sizes, types, and materials. If you don't have the right ladder, don't just "make do." It's not worth the risk.

The Actions: What you need to DO

Check the ladder to make sure it meets ANSI standards and is in good, usable condition. Check the load limit. If it's not strong enough or there is any damage, don't use it.

Make sure the ladder is on a firm, level surface and is secured or has slip-resistant feet. If it's self-supporting (leaning against something, not a stepladder), make sure it's at the correct angle.

When climbing, face the ladder and use one or both hands to grasp it. Don't carry an object that might cause you to lose your balance and fall.

Never stand on the top step or rung of a ladder. If you are using the ladder to climb onto an upper level, it needs to be at least 3 feet above the landing surface.