A high percentage of step ladder and ladder accidents involving workers and ‘handy men’ are due to unwise ladder procedures.
Here’s the top 10 not so clever things people have done when using a Step Ladder or Ladder:
10. Dragging a step ladder from one place to another, sideways.
This loosens the joints. Over a short time the ladder will lose its rigidity and therefore stability. To move a ladder, pick it up first. You may also find it easier to transport if you fold it up first.
9. Using a rusted ladder… “just this once”.
How many times have you taken a chance… “just this once”? Rusted ladders may still ‘look’ safe, but you can never be sure just how little pressure could cause a rung to collapse, a leg to crumble, or a joint to snap.
No job is worth the risk “just this once”. Get a new ladder and store it out of the weather where it is less likely to accumulate rust. Always do a Ladder Safety Check before using a ladder.
8. Using a step ladder that’s way too short for the job, or having the ladder too far away from the work to be done.
Either of these scenarios encourages over-reaching… which has led to many ladder accidents.
7. Standing on the top step.
This is a classic no-no when using a ladder. As soon as the slightest imbalance occurs there’s nothing for the person to hang on to, or lean their knees against.
Standing on the top rung of a step ladder is an accident just waiting to happen.
6. Failing to lock the step ladder.
This can cause instability of the ladder, or a sudden jolt as the step ladder locks into place due to the person’s weight. This jolt has caused people to fall from the ladder, or down a few rungs, scraping shins and forearms.
5. Setting the feet on a wet or slippery floor, or letting one set of legs be stuck in sand.
As soon as someone walks up the step ladder it’s likely that the feet will slide or sink. Either way the person becomes unbalanced again.
4. Using a single step ladder or a pair of step ladders to support planks to make a platform to stand on.
If there is a lot of weight on the planks they will bend excessively. This movement can push the step ladders apart to the extent that the whole thing crashes down. If at a height, things could be disastrous! The other probability is the plank of wood snapping from the excessive bend.
3. Standing the step ladder feet on blocks of wood or stacks of bricks.
Blocks and stacks should NEVER be considered to be stable however neatly they are stacked or embedded.
2. Hanging something very heavy on one side of the ladder.
Hanging something heavy on one side of the ladder could flip the ladder quite easily, particularly just as you’ve climbed off it. It would be terrible to have a ladder and a piece of machinery, tools or heavy paint tins come crashing down on you.
1. Walking the step ladder along while still being on it!
It’s been done in many a comedy movie… but always under controlled conditions and often by specialised stunt personnel. If you need to move the step ladder, simply climb down it and move it. It takes a lot less effort than rocking it from side to side to walk it to another destination… in such a case – the very hard floor! Until your job description includes ‘stunt action’, stick with using ladders the safe way!