Aiming to cut down on the number of ladder accidents, the American Ladder Institute has declared this month to be the first National Ladder Safety Month.
The American Ladder Institute has declared March 2017 the first annual National Ladder Awareness Safety Month. It has a number of aims, but chiefly amongst them is to create more awareness of the safe use of ladders, through distributing resources, providing training and encouraging national dialogue. Though it’s an American initiative, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t pay attention this side of the Atlantic over here in the UK.
The Objectives Of National Ladder Safety Month
As we touched upon above, there are even more aims of National Ladder Safety Month, each chosen with an overall goal to decreasing risk and improving the safety of ladder users. Their target audience is not only tradesmen and professionals, but homeowners and the general public too, whether they’re using extension ladders or garden ladders. These objectives are:
- To cut down on the number of ladder-related injuries and deaths
- To increase the number of ladder inspector trainings
- To build up the numbers of organisations and individuals that routinely carry out thorough inspections of old, damaged or obsolete ladders
- To increase the number of ladder safety training certificates issued by the American Ladder Institute
- To encourage more frequent viewings of online ladder safety training modules
- To lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s annual list
Though some of these may be location specific to the United States, certainly the first three aims can be applied globally, and one way to ensure the success of them is to continue adhering to them yourself.
How You Can Decrease The Number Of Ladder Related Accidents
There are lots of ways you can ensure your own safety, and that of others, when it comes to ladders. We’ve already published a post on how to choose the right ladder for the job, but you should also make sure that your ladder has the correct weight rating for you. This should include the weight of your clothes, tools and boots – you may be surprised at how much they affect your total weight. The ladder you choose should also be designed specifically for the task you’re completing, which means that if you’re working on high windows you should be using an extension ladder, not a closed stepladder leaning against a wall. Another thing to check is the material of your ladder. If working with electricity, for example, fibreglass ladder should always be used as they don’t conduct a current.
The condition of your ladder is also a vital factor to check during your inspection, as structural damage can make it difficult to accurately rely on its suitability for the job. The ladder’s feet are also another important element to check, as their grip can be compromised if they’re worn down too much, again making the ladder dangerously unsafe. (It’s not an acceptable practice to level or heighten your ladder with items like bricks, either, as they don’t maintain the same grip and so render the ladder prone to slipping.) Always maintain three points of contact when climbing – your tools are best carried on a belt, rather than under one arm – and be careful not to over-reach too far out to either side, as this is a leading cause of ladder accidents. These are all quick steps that are unfortunately all-too-often skipped because of time constraints, or out of a simple lack of knowledge. Whenever you’re working at height, it’s vital to protect yourself and others by carrying out appropriate checks and adhering to industry-approved practices, no matter the urgency of the job.
For the particularly high jobs, telescopic ladders present a convenient, versatile solution. At Browns Ladders, safety is central to everything we do, so don’t hesitate to check out our range of access equipment safety courses. In the meantime, if you need any help or advice you can always contact us on 01282 615 517.
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