Over the past five years, there have been more than 800 incidents of workers falling from ladders in Manitoba, according to the WCB. Portable ladders are a common feature of many workplaces, but care must be taken to ensure their safe use. Using ladders in an unsafe manner can lead to falls that result in severe injury or even death.
It is essential that safe work procedures for the use of portable ladders are implemented and consistently followed.
SAFE Work Manitoba reminds employers and workers to take the following prevention measures when using portable ladders:
- Select an approved ladder for the task (e.g. stepladder or extension ladder).
- Before using a ladder, always inspect it carefully:
- Check rails for cracks, bends or defects.
- Look for broken or missing rungs.
- Check the braces.
- Stepladder – ensure ladder is fully open and spreaders are locked.
- Ensure the feet are not worn or broken.
- Confirm that the base of the ladder is placed on a solid surface.
- Look for anchor points at the top and bottom of the ladder.
- See where the top of the ladder is resting.
- Make sure there are no overhead hazards (e.g. electrical wires).
- Check for other work being performed near you.
- Before moving a ladder, be sure that no tools or other materials have been left on it.
Always maintain 3-point contact! For every 4 feet in height, the ladder base should be out 1 foot.