8 Ways Not To Use A Ladder
A typical ladder is not seen as a marvelous tool these days. People are in awe of extendable ladders that scale the heights of skyscrapers. Indeed, the simple good old ladder has witnessed some amazing transformation. Evolution would be the more appropriate word. But if you consider the ingenuity of the original ladder, then you would marvel at its utility and how amazing it is.
Today, ladders come with a ton of safety features. Ladders have become phenomenally safer now than they were a hundred years back. However, there are still ladder induced or related accidents in the country. More than a quarter million people get injured in ladder related accidents every year. While short falls from a stepladder in your backyard from a height of three or four feet wouldn’t injure you gravely, you must be cautious while climbing onto the roof or scaling a substantial height. You must always be safe, informed and sure of how you are using a ladder.
Regardless of the type of ladder you have or use, here are eight ways not to use a ladder.
- Don’t use a ladder that is not ideal for an operation. The ladder you need to climb onto your roof would be different from one that a tree pruning expert would need. Those ladders would be different from the ones the firemen would need and those will be difference from the various hydraulic and mechanized ladders used in warehousing, shipping, logistics and aviation or myriad types of construction. No matter which type of ladder you have, you must ensure that it has the requisite height, is of the desired strength and quality to cater to the needs. You cannot have a shorter ladder than one you need.
- You cannot use a ladder that is too old. If there is any sign of structural damage or substantial wear, then you must not use the ladder. Don’t think that it is good enough for one more operation unless you have it tested by pros.
- You cannot use a ladder that doesn’t have the load bearing capacity that you require. Ladders are usually meant for one person to climb up and down while another or more than one person keeps a close watch. Some ladders can have multiple people climbing up. Some ladders have a working platform at the top. Every ladder has a load bearing capacity and should be used for the specific purpose it is designed for. Do not use a ladder that cannot cater to a given purpose you need one for.
- Don’t set up a ladder simply because the terrain looks pleasant enough and the hosting seems to be stable. You have to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to set up the ladder impeccably. You cannot set up a ladder upright. It needs to be inclined. The thumb rule is to use a ratio of 1:4. A twenty feet ladder would have to be placed around five feet away from the structure against which it is set up. This of course doesn’t apply to ladders that are hosted hydraulically. But extendable ladders that must be tilted and rested against a structure should use this ratio.
- Do not just rest the ladder against the structure and start climbing. Ensure that all the legs are firmly set on the ground. Ideally, they should be at the exact same level, a perfect flat plain. If that is not the case, then one must check if the legs are moving or shaking. After rested against the structure, one must check the spreaders. The spreaders should be straight and locked.
- Never climb or descend a ladder with your back to the steps. You should be leaning towards the ladder and take one step at a time. Don’t skip a step to save time. Do not hold the rails if there are obstructions. Hold the steps if you have to.
- Do not climb beyond the third step from the top. More than half of your body should be leaning against the top end of the ladder. The moment you weigh heavily beyond the ladder, there is a chance of falling. The same applies to when you try to reach out for stuff while climbing, descending or standing. Don’t lean right or left, front or back unnecessarily as that would risk tilting the ladder, further than it is already inclined.
- Don’t use a ladder in an unsuitable condition. Heavy winds, rain or storm are a strict no-no. Uneven ground, slippery surface or challenging terrain would be risky. Don’t set up a ladder when there are many trees, wires and other natural or artificial structures blocking the ascent or descent or the very setting up of the ladder. Never climb a ladder alone without anyone to keep an eye and help.