By The RIDGEPRO.
It’s pretty obvious to all of us in the roofing and construction trades that ladders are often the source of injuries on the job. The ladder is generally not to blame; it’s a worker who wasn’t properly trained or just took his or her eye off the ball for a moment. That’s all it takes and the next thing you know, someone is calling 9-1-1 for an ambulance to rush to the jobsite for a fall related injury.
As we enter the season of ghosts, zombies and scary stories take the time to inspect all ladders and review ladder safety with each crew. OSHA and ANSI both have standards for ladder safety that need to be followed. Here are a few points to remember:
Now it’s time to climb the carefully positioned ladder. Workers are wearing fall protection gear and helmets and have been trained in their use, right? It’s time to put down the cell phone and concentrate. Face the ladder for the climb. This is no time to be turning around to shout something back to those on the ground.
Two hands + two feet = four possible points of contact. Three of these should be in contact with the ladder at all times. You choose. Climb hand over hand carefully. Keep your body centered between the rails.
It is recommended that heavy items be hoisted directly to the roof because carrying anything while climbing a ladder increases the danger level. Even commonly used tools and materials such as a 40 pound solar panel add to the weight put on the ladder. It’s easy to forget that a sheet of plywood weighs approximately 80 pounds and a bundle of shingles weighs between 75 and 100 pounds. If the ladder is rated for only 250 pounds, a worker could be well over the limit with either of those items in hand. Consider stepping up to a IAA Grade 1AA heavy duty ladder that’s rated for 375 pounds.
Ladders are so common in the roofing, solar and construction industries that workers tend to overlook the risks involved in each and every climb. The ability to work high above the ground is a skill to be proud of. Rooftop safety lies in achieving a healthy balance between fear and familiarity. Respect the height and never worry about taking that first step up the ladder.
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