Nearly 4,700 workers died on the job in 2016. Of those deaths, more than 21 percent were in the construction industry. Numbers like these emphasize that the industry must continue to focus on worker safety including training as well as wearing the proper personal protection equipment.
Of the nearly 1,000 construction-related deaths reported two years ago, 384 or nearly 39 percent were attributed to falls. Many of those accidents took place on falls from scaffolding and ladders. This is why it’s important to inspect the equipment before and after usage.
Tips when checking a ladder
When it comes to ladders, you have to make sure that they are safe to use. So taking a few minutes to give a ladder a thorough visual inspection before you climb on one can be a life-saver. When inspecting a ladder, including those fresh from the manufacturer, here are some key points you must determine:
- The steps or rungs are in solid shape. There should be no missing, loose or bent steps.
- The treads on the ladder steps should show no signs of mud, grease, oil, corrosion or sticky substances. Dirty steps are slippery and unsafe.
- The side rails are free of cracks and splits.
- The rope is not worn or frayed.
- The locking bars should be operable and not bent or damaged.
- The ladder’s feet should be not be worn, damaged, dirty or corroded. Otherwise, the ladder could slip.
- Metal ladders should have no dents or bent parts
- The spreaders or hinges should not be loose, are in place and working.
- The ladder is clean. Dirt and grime can easily cover any damages on a ladder.
You also must make sure to inspect a ladder for damages if it has fallen or tipped over. And always remember that if you find any problems with a ladder, do not use it. Remove it from the work area, and clearly label that it’s defective and should not be used.