Falls are among the most dangerous incidents that can take place. In 2017, 36,338 people died from falls at home or work on and off ladders. They're also a leading cause of nonfatal injuries.
To prevent falls, it's important to know the tools you're working with. When you choose a ladder, it's essential that it's the right ladder for the job. You need to know a few things such as:
- How high you need to reach
- The total weight the ladder has to hold
- If you need to use a wooden, plastic or metal ladder due to the environment it's to be placed in
Since falls are such a high risk, it's smart to know the basics of staying safe. Here are a few tips to help you avoid a ladder fall.
1. Get a firm foundation
To start with, you need to have a strong foundation under your ladder. Attempt to find a solid surface for the ladder to be based on. Avoid placing ladders on wet, soft or slippery surfaces.
2. Get the right distance
Depending on the kind of ladder you are using, you may need to extend it beyond the top of the location you want to work on or angle it out from the side of a building or structure. For example, a straight or extension ladder needs to be angled out from a wall or structure a foot per four working feet. If you're going 16 feet up, you should base the feet at least four feet out from the building to give the ladder the best balance.
3. Open stepladders completely
Something that you should avoid doing is using a step ladder without opening it up completely. Many come with safety rods or triggers that lock into place when the ladder is fully open and ready to be used. Locking it into place prevents it from folding up under you, which could cause a fall.
Of course, while these tips can help, the best thing you can do is make sure you're always climbing with the knowledge you need to do so safely. If you're tired, dizzy, working in windy conditions or notice damage to the ladder, simply avoid climbing it. If you climb in poor conditions, there is a high likelihood that you could fall and get hurt, which is something you can avoid by having a good ladder safety education.