NEAR-MISS is an opportunity to learn and to implement adequate risk control measures to prevent similar incident in the future. The incident should be recorded as a potential hazard that, luckily, did not result in any injury or loss this time. The point is, you can not depend on luck to be safe!
Issues related to ‘Ladder Safety’ fall under the top ten violations (actually at 6th position) seen by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in fiscal year 2018. Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of
the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. Take appropriate measures to avoid portable ladder related accidents at your workplace.
- Read and follow all labels/markings (provided by the manufacturer) on the ladder.
- Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.
- Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder.
- Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
- Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.
- Always maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing or getting down.
- Only use ladders for their designed purposes.
- Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.
- Do not use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
- Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.
- Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
- Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
- Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
- An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support. Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.
- The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface.
- A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
- Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged. (Ref: OSHA)