Ladder Safety

Ladder Safety

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Join HSI Chief Safety Officer Jill James as she visits environmental health and safety professionals in their workplaces to explore important workplace safety topics. This video covers the proper way to inspect ladders in a workplace and common damage points to look out for during inspection.

Video Transcript:

My name is Jill, Chief Safety Officer with HSI. I'm a former OSHA inspector here to help you identify and correct workplace safety hazards.

Today I'm going to discuss ladder safety training.

Today we have a step ladder, a fiberglass step ladder. When you're doing your safety inspections or audits in your workplace, remember to inspect your ladders as well. So let's take a look at this one and what we might be looking for.

So one of the things that you'd like to look for on this, is to start by looking at its feet. Make sure the slip-resistant feet are in place on all sides of the ladder so that the latter can be stable when it's being used and it's not slipping when the employee is climbing it.

Another piece to look at are the rails which are the sides of the ladder. Now on a fiberglass ladder, it's uncommon to find a rail that's dented but you'd want to look at the sides or the rails of the ladder to make sure there isn't any damage to them. It's pretty common to find damaged rails with some aluminum ladders which by the way are also conductive and so you want to make sure that you're being careful you're using an aluminum ladder, but on this particular ladder fiberglass these rails look just fine I don't see any dents with them and we'd, of course, want to go around to the backside and look at the rails there as well.

And then look at each step of the ladder too, you're looking for any dents or damage to the steps that could make the integrity of the latter weak when an employee is climbing it.

And then also look to see that the labels, the manufacturers labels are in place on the ladder this particular label is always going to say that an employee should never stand on that step. It's not intended for people to stand on now you're going to see people using it that way, and that's an unsafe work practice. Why is that an unsafe work practice? Because when someone is up there it causes the entire ladder to become unstable.

I'd like to tell I guess a couple of stories. In my time with OSHA I investigated three ladder fatalities: One was from an employee who was standing on those on this second to the top rung of the ladder and it caused it to be unstable and he fell and hit his head. The other two happened to be from the second rung of the ladder which is about a 24 inch fall, neither employee were using three points of contact on the ladder and they lost their balance and hit their head and died. And so we want to make sure that we're not only inspecting our ladders but we're enforcing and modeling the proper use of them in our workplaces as well.

I hope you gained a safety skill today, if you know someone who needs this go ahead and pass it on.

Safety is everyone's business.

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