Step up your game: March is National Ladder Safety Month
Mar 2, 2023, 3:00 PM
(American Ladder Institute Photo)
Every year more than 100 people die in ladder-related accidents, and thousands suffer disabling injuries, according to the American Ladder Institute.
Every time you climb a ladder, you risk becoming one of the 136,118 people who suffer a ladder-related injury each year in the United States. Ladders are the most dangerous household tool because most ladder accidents occur due to improper use, not manufacturing defects.
What is National Ladder Safety Month?
Because of those statistics, the American Ladder Institute (ALI) launched National Ladder Safety Month. It is the only movement dedicated exclusively to the promotion of ladder safety. During March, National Ladder Safety Month will bring heightened awareness to the safe use of ladders through resources, training, and a national dialogue.
Ladder accidents are preventable with thorough safety planning, training, and continuous innovation in product design.
Each week during the 2023 National Ladder Safety Month, ALI will focus on these topics:
• Choosing your ladder
• Safety before the first step (inspection and setup)
• Safety while climbing
• Safety at the top
The goal of National Ladder Safety Month includes:
• Decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities.
• Increase the number of ladder safety training certificates issued by ALI.
• Increase the frequency that ladder safety training modules are viewed on http://www.laddersafetytraining.org.
• Lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s yearly Top 10 Citations List.
• Increase the number of in-person ladder training.
• Increase the number of companies and individuals that inspect and properly dispose of old, damaged, or obsolete ladders.
Increase ladder safety and decrease chances of an accident
An important step (no pun intended) to increase ladder safety is to select the right ladder for the job you need it for. There are hundreds of manufacturers of ladders, yet only six basic ladder types. Click here to find out the use of each ladder.
There are some dos and don’ts when it comes to using a ladder.
• Keep your body centered on the ladder. Never sway or reach so far that you let your belt buckle pass the sides of the ladder.
• Move materials with extreme caution when standing on a ladder.
• Climb up and down facing the ladder and use both hands.
• Haul materials up on a line instead of carrying them up an extension ladder.
• Examine the ladder for rough spots, cracks, splinters, and broken rungs before climbing.
• Maintain wooden ladders with a clear sealant. A fiberglass ladder should have a lacquer that is not worn or scraped.
• Stand above the second step from the top of a stepladder or the fourth rung from the top of an extension ladder.
• Climb a closed stepladder; it can slip out from under you.
• Exceed the duty rating by allowing more than one person on a single-sided stepladder or extension ladder.
• Overreach or try to move a ladder while on it.
There are some handy accessories available for ladders. The Flip Tray for Step Ladders allows the ladder user to place items on the top, thus decreasing the frequency of climbing down and then back up the ladder for supplies.
The Quick Click Stabilizer attaches to extension ladders and has arms that provide a broader area for the ladder to lean on. The Level Master quickly stabilizes the ladder on uneven or sloping ground. The two or four-sided Multi-Pocket Tool Holder fits over the top of the stepladder allowing tools to be close and convenient. Extension Ladder Covers are rubber covers that protect whatever the extension ladder is leaning against.
Finally, even if you are not superstitious, never walk under an open ladder (especially if a black cat crosses your path.) Seriously, don’t do it. You could accidentally bump the ladder, causing it to fall on you, or drop the person on it.
Always take precautions and don’t rush. Otherwise, you may find yourself as an unwanted statistic.
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email mailto:email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.