Ladders are inherently dangerous. Getting on a ladder always introduces danger into your life.
As professional painters, we have to keep an unwavering focus on ladder safety. Painting made the list of 25 most dangerous jobs in 2018. A majority of these are falls. So, ladder safety is one of the key safety concerns in our industry and for our firm.
Falls were also the most common cause of nonfatal injury among maintenance and construction painters — accounting for 63.7% of all nonfatal injuries. Bureau of Labor Statistics, USA Today, 2018.
Those stats are for professionals. You can imagine the statistics for DIY homeowners!
There are lots of reasons you might have to get up on a ladder at your house or apartment. Thanks to big-box stores like Home Depot, do-it-yourself is within everybody’s reach. But, like with everything else, there’s a lot to know.
Here’s what you’ve got to know about ladder safety – to stay safe and have your DIY jobs be successful.
The Basics of Ladder Safety
Therefore, always be present and focused when you’re working with a ladder – going up or down, or working from a height. Never be casual about it and ALWAYS observe the following basic rules:
Know your ladders.
Make sure your ladder is the right height for the job. Too short or too tall? You’ve got ladder safety problems.
Have a spotter.
A spotter is on the ground, steadying the ladder. It’s common to see people working on ladders alone, but it’s never a good idea. A spotter helps keep your ladder balanced. (If you’re too proud to accept that kind of help, just call in the professionals!)
Windy? Put off the job.
Never use a ladder outdoors on a windy day. Do we have to explain this one? It’s that balance thing again. If wind can topple an oak, you might want to take a break from ladder work on a windy day.
Wet conditions? Ditto.
Ditto for rain or snow. Again, pretty self explanatory. Those rungs can be extremely slippery when wet!
No skipping rungs.
Never hurry up or down a ladder. Take it one rung at a time. Every time.
Top rung? Never!
This is a huge no-no! If you’re tempted to stand on the top of your ladder, you’re not using the right ladder! Go get one that will take you higher.
Don’t carry stuff up or down in your hands – that’s what tool belts are for.
A good tool belt may save your life – or your future earning capacity (your health)! Using one allows you to keep 3 points of contact with a ladder at all times – both feet and one hand, both hands and one foot, etc. Remember! Ladder safety requires you to be hands-free on the trip up or down.
About STB Painting
At STB Painting in Howard County, Maryland, we have a spotless safety record — and that doesn’t happen by accident. We put safety first. Project managers are on our work sites, managing the crews, at all times. Safety is one reason we don’t subcontract – we’ve trained our people and can guarantee best practices.