From June 2-6, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be sponsoring a Safety Stand-Down event. During these four days, OSHA will ask employers in the construction industry to devote time to training employees in the area of fall protection, as these hazards are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in construction.
In this article, we'd like to discuss specifically the subject of ladders, and when it is appropriate to use them. Some employers will use a ladder when it would be a better idea to construct scaffolding or rely on harnesses and ropes.
OSHA advises employers and their staff to ask four questions before using a ladder:
1. Is the platform you're climbing to so high that the ladder is not stable? Does the top of the ladder extend at least a foot beyond the surface you are trying to reach?
2. Will you be carrying heavy items while climbing up or down?
3. Will you be standing on the ladder for a long time (such as when you're painting or installing siding)?
4. Will you have to turn sideways to perform this task?
If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes," then you should reconsider whether a ladder is the appropriate tool for the job. In these situations it may make more sense to use a raised platform, such as a cherry picker or a scaffold.
Adhering to OSHA safety guidelines regarding fall protection can be a complicated task, so we highly recommend using IndustrySafe, safety management software that can assist with the compliance process. This software will make it easier to verify that your work site meets all safety standards, and that your workers are adequately protected.