It’s a step ladder for god sake how hard can it be to operate, or set up and risks well you only see them when you fall or hit the ground and sometimes DIE
Stepladders are not banned under health and safety law. In fact they can be a sensible and practical option for low-risk, short-duration tasks, although they may not automatically be your first choice. Make sure you use the right type of ladder and you know how to use it safely. The law calls for a sensible, proportionate approach to managing risk, and further guidance on what you should do before deciding if a ladder is the right type of equipment for a particular task is provided in Working at height
Because falling from a simple step ladder can be fatal like this guy
156 injuries by a stepladder are reported. In the whole of plunge injuries occurred with a stepladder we found 12%. The painters are involved in 34.6% in this kind of accident, apprentices in 5.8%. Most people were aged from 20-24 and the lower limb was more often injured than the upper limb. Fractures were present in 24% and we registered 48.8 days in which workers were unfit to work. Most patients (95.2%) obtained total rehabilitation.
Before you climb, check these basic rules for ladder safety…
• Make sure the spreaders are locked open before climbing.
• Make sure nearby doors are locked or walkways barricaded to prevent collisions.
• Never overreach while working on a stepladder. Move the ladder instead.
• Never climb above the second rung from the top.
• Always wear slip-resistant footwear.
• Keep the ladder rungs free of oil and grease.
• Always go up and down facing the ladder, holding on with both hands.
• While working, hold on to the ladder with one hand at all times.
• Use a tool belt or a bucket attached to a hand line to pull tools up.
• Never use a metal ladder when working with electrical current.
A pre-use check should be carried out: ■ by the user; ■ at the beginning of the working day; ■ after something has changed, eg a ladder has been dropped or moved from a dirty area to a clean area (check the state or condition of the feet).
When deciding if it is safe to carry out a particular task on a stepladder where you cannot maintain a handhold (eg to put a box on a shelf, hang wallpaper, install a smoke detector on a ceiling), this needs to be justified, taking into account: ■ the height of the task; ■ whether a handhold is still available to steady yourself before and after the task; ■ whether it is light work; ■ whether it avoids side loading; ■ whether it avoids overreaching; ■ whether the stepladder can be tied (eg when side-on working).
First, nearly 50 percent of reported injuries involving ladders are caused by the awkward size and weight of the ladder. The easy solution to this problem is to make a lighter ladder. Second, we use the wrong type or size of ladder for the job. Quite often, this problem is caused by the first. The ladder that is actually tall enough to do the job is too heavy, so we grab the smaller one. And when we have to reach a little higher, we just climb on the top rung or the top step.
The third category is by far the most costly per incident, both in financial and human costs: falls from height due to over-reaching or improper setup. These are the kinds of falls that change lives or end them, the kinds of falls that result in families left behind.
Check the stiles – make sure they are not bent or damaged, as the ladder could buckle or collapse. Check the feet – if they are missing, worn or damaged the ladder could slip. Also check ladder feet when moving from soft/dirty ground (eg dug soil, loose sand/ stone, a dirty workshop) to a smooth, solid surface (eg paving slabs), to make sure the foot material and not the dirt (eg soil, chippings or embedded stones) is making contact with the ground. Check the rungs – if they are bent, worn, missing or loose the ladder could fail. Check any locking mechanisms – if they are bent or the fixings are worn or damaged the ladder could collapse. Ensure any locking bars are engaged. Check the stepladder platform – if it is split or buckled the ladder could become unstable or collapse. Check the steps or treads on stepladders – if they are contaminated they could be slippery; if the fixings are loose on steps, they could collapse. If you spot any of the above defects, don’t use the ladder and notify your employer.
- Use a stepladder that is about 1 m (3 ft) shorter than the highest point you have to reach. This gives a wider, more stable base and places shelf at a convenient working height.
- Open the stepladder spreaders and shelf fully.
- Check stability. Ensure that all ladder feet are on a firm, level and non-slippery surface.
- Place a stepladder at right angles to the work, with either the front or back of the steps facing the work.
- Keep the stepladder close to the work.
- Avoid pushing or pulling stepladders from the side. Repeated sideways movement can make ladders wobbly since they are weaker or less stable in those directions.
- Face the stepladder when climbing up or down. Keep your body centered between side rails. You have climbed too high if your knees are above top of the stepladder or if you cannot maintain a handhold on the ladder.
- Maintain a firm grip. Use both hands when climbing.
- Do not overreach. Move a stepladder when needed.
- Do not “shift” or “walk” a stepladder when standing on it.
- Do not stand, climb, or sit on the stepladder top or pail shelf.
- Do not overload. Stepladders are meant for one person.
- Do not use a stepladder as a brace or as a support for a work platform or plank.
- Do not climb a stepladder that is leaning against a wall. Use a straight ladder instead.
- Do not use stepladders on slippery surfaces
- Do not use stepladders on soft ground where one leg may sink farther into the ground than others.
- Do not place stepladders on boxes, unstable bases or on scaffolds to gain additional height.
- Do not climb the back of a stepladder.
- Do not push or pull stepladders sideways.
- Do not use ladders in passageways, doorways, driveways or other locations where a person or vehicle can hit it. Set up suitable barriers or lock doors shut.
So if you are not thinking about step ladder safety think about this instead
Every year thousands of people are injured and hundreds are killed. By understanding the causes of ladder accidents the vast majority could be prevented.
- More than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatmentfrom ladder-related injuries every year
- Elevated falls account for almost 700 occupational deathsannually
- These deaths account for 15% of all occupational deaths
- OSHA believes 100% of all ladder accidents could be prevented if proper attention to equipment and climber training were provided
- Over the last 10 years the amount of ladder-related injuries has increased 50%
- According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50% of all ladder-related accidents were due to individuals carrying items as they climbed
- The most common type of ladder-related injury, with 32%, is fractures
4 Main Types of Ladder Accidents
Ladder accidents are extremely common even though they are entirely preventable. Ladder accidents can come from a wide variety of issues but the following four causes account for the vast majority. If these simple loss prevention tips for each cause are followed, ladder accidents could almost be eliminated.
Selecting the Wrong Type of Ladder
Like most other jobs, choosing the right tool can make all the difference when it comes to safety and this is the same for ladders. One thing to consider when selecting an appropriate ladder is the ladder’s weight capacity. Each ladder is designed to support a maximum weight limit and if the climber exceeds that limit the ladder could break and cause the user to fall or become injured.
Another consideration when selecting the appropriate ladder for a job is the necessary height of the ladder. Many injuries occur due to ladders being too short for a specific task, and instead of selecting a new ladder for the job, workers will place the ladder on something to extend its reach or will stand on the top rung to gain the necessary height. Both scenarios are extremely dangerous and can result in serious injuries.
Using Worn or Damaged Ladders
Another common contributing factor to ladder accidents is the use of old, worn, or damaged ladders. Like everything else, ladders have a shelf life; after a couple of years the stress of being climbed up and down on causes ladders to break down. Damaged ladders are extremely dangerous as they can easily break while being used and cause serious injuries.
To protect yourself from damaged or broken ladders, make sure to thoroughly inspect each ladder before using it. If any damage is found, do not use the ladder until it has been safely repaired to the manufacturer’s specifications or it has been replaced.
Incorrect Use of Ladders
Human error is by far the leading cause of ladder accidents. Never use a ladder in any other way than what the manufacturer intended it to be used for. Also, do not lengthen or alter a ladder in any way.
While using a ladder always maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder to ensure stability. Also, never attempt to reach for something while on the ladder. It is much safer to get off the ladder, move it, and then climb back up.
Incorrect Placement of Ladders
Make sure that when positioning a ladder, the ground you place it on is level and firm. Ladders should never be placed in front of a door that is not locked, blocked, or guarded.
A good practice to ensure a ladder is secure is to always have a helper support the base while a ladder is being used. If the ladder can not be held by someone else, make sure it has an appropriate foot to prevent it from slipping. The feet of the ladder can be staked if you are using a ladder outside and no one is available to support the feet of the ladder.
More than 2 million people suffered ladder injuries from 1990 to 2005. That equals about 135,000 injuries a year, and I’m sure there are many more that are not reported. The majority of ladder injuries happen at home, and mostly to men older than 40.
Injuries include but are not limited to:
- Permanent disability, from paralysis, pain or head, neck or back injuries
- Temporary disability, usually from a broken arm or a leg
- Painful arthritis in later years as a result of those injuries
- Loss of income
- Loss of recreational activities
- Loss of intimacy
If you fall from a ladder:
- Calmly assess the situation and determine if you are hurt.
- Get up slowly.
- If you feel that an injury has occurred that prevents you from standing or walking, do not panic. Call for assistance. If the injury is serious, call 911.
- If you are not injured, rest awhile and regain your composure before climbing again.