Ladder Safety Month: Every Step Matters

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Every year over 300 people die in ladder-related accidents, and thousands suffer disabling injuries. Which is why the American Ladder Institute (ALI) is celebrating the first-ever National Ladder Safety Month, designed to raise awareness of ladder safety and to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities. National Ladder Safety Month is the only movement dedicated exclusively to the promotion of ladder safety, at home and at work.

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Making the Best Choice

When it comes to safety, choosing the correct ladder for the job is very important. Here are some considerations for making your choice:

What type of material should my ladder be made of?
Ladders are built from one of three basic materials; wood, fiberglass and metal (aluminum). Your work site’s location and surroundings are the main factor in choosing the material from which your ladder is constructed.  For example, you would not want to choose a metal ladder when working near live electricity as your body can complete an electrical circuit.

What kind of ladder should I use?
There are a variety of ladders manufactured with different purposes. Like choosing a material, your work environment and knowledge of what ladders are available will you make the best choice in ladder for the job. Consider these safety issues in your work environment:

  • Will the ladder be resting on an uneven surface?
  • Is the work area crowded with people and/or materials?
  • What obstructions are in the path of the climb?

How tall should my ladder be?
The proper ladder length must be selected. It is unsafe to use a ladder that is too long or too short as you should not use top steps, set up at an unsafe angle, or overhang your ladder too far. Safety standards require a label indicating the highest standing level on the ladder.

How strong should my ladder be?
Consider the Duty Rating of the ladder when selecting it. This is simply the maximum weight capacity the ladder can safely carry. To figure out the total amount of weight your ladder will be supporting, add:

  • Your Weight; plus
  • The Weight of Your Clothing and Protective Equipment; plus
  • The Weight of Tools and Supplies You Are Carrying; plus
  • The Weight of Tools and Supplies Stored on the Ladder

There are five categories of ladder Duty Ratings ranging from light duty (200 lb.) to extra heavy duty (375 lb.). The Duty Rating of your ladder can be found on the specifications label. Safety standards require a Duty Rating sticker to be placed on the side of every ladder.Read more about choosing the correct ladder as well as Safety Standards for the different types of ladders here.

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You can find more Safety Resources such as Ladder Safety Training, Ladder Safety Checklist, and Safety Standards by clicking the resource link below.
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One ladder does not fit all! Read more about ladder myths and the facts to disprove them.
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