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Important ladder safety tips for building inspections.

Accidents in and around the home happen all the time, which is why it's very important to be aware of the basics of ladder safety. According to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety in one year in Australia, 1668 people aged 65 years and over were hospitalised because they fell from a ladder. Sixty-two per cent of those injuries occurred in or around their home.

In our website we discuss about tasks which sometimes require the use of ladders, for example, building inspections. So it is very important that we also talk ladder safety. As a starting point, always choose the right ladder for the task, follow manufactures recommendations and adhere to the Duty Rating labeled on the ladder which indicates the maximum safe load capacity of the ladder (person, tools, and supplies). Generally, you shouldn’t be reaching higher than 1 meter above the ladder top.

Before undertaking a building inspection using a ladder always inspect the ladder for any damage including but not limited to free from cracks and splits, corrosion, protruding fasteners and bent components of the ladder like legs and steps. Make sure the ladder steps and your shoes are free from oil/grease, water or anything slick and the steps are firmly attached to the side rails of the ladder. All other components including the safety feet or in good working condition a placed on level ground. If you find anything that is not correct don’t use the ladder it is unsafe.

The following are important ladder safety tips:

  • Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder;

  • Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder;

  • Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment;

  • 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;

  • Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes;

  • Ladders must be free of any slippery material on and steps;

  • 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 of a ladder as a step 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 1 meter above the point of support;

  • Do not stand on the three top steps of a straight, single or extension ladder;

  • 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;

  • Know your limits and work to your ability.

Photo credit @lepidoptometry via Twitter.

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