In October, three different workers fell from ladders, resulting in serious incidents. One worker fell 22 feet from a third storey balcony. This is a stark reminder of the importance of understanding ladder use and hazards.
Here are five key things to remember when using an extension ladder or stepladder:
- When using a stepladder, never go higher than the third step or stand on the top.
- Ensure extension ladders are set up at a 4:1 ratio and are secured at top and bottom.
- Never lean outside the ladder's center of gravity.
- DO NOT attempt to walk or jump the ladder while on it.
- Use fall protection when working at 10 feet or higher.
Be sure to inspect the right ladder for the task and ALWAYS inspect ladders pre-use:
- Look for cracks in the rails; bent, twisted, or cracked steps; and/or broken or missing feet, on extension ladders ensure they rotate freely.
- Inspect ropes and pulleys on extension ladders for binding, fraying, and smooth operation.
- Ensure gravity locks on extension ladders work smoothly and lock properly. For step ladders, ensure the spreader bars function correctly, and if equipped with locks on the spreader bar, make sure the locks are working.
- Ensure manufacturer’s labels are attached and legible — they contain important information for the user.
- Keep steps/rungs and boots clear of mud, snow, and ice.
- Always set ladders up on stable surfaces. DO NOT shim ladder feet.
Full details on proper ladder use can be found in Part 13.7 of the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation.
We've also got some resources to strengthen ladder safety on YOUR site:
If have any question about ladder use or hazards, speak to a safety advisor by calling 204-775-3171 in Winnipeg or 204-728-3456 in Brandon.