EM 385 Guide: Ladder Safety
EM 385 ladder safety standards ensure that all workers who work on ladders do so safely and without putting their lives on the line. Employers have a legal obligation to ensure that workers remain safe. To prevent fall accidents all floors, roofs, wall openings, platforms, scaffolds, ramps etc have to be secured before being used. Most rules that apply to ladders also apply to the equipment mentioned. To prevent serious accidents, employers need to maintain these regulations on a work site:
- Do not use ladders if they feel dizzy or tired or in a high storm
- Wear shoes that are slip-resistant. This does not include leather shoes.
- Inspect the ladder before using it to ensure it is in good working condition.
- Ladders that are loose or have missing parts should be replaced immediately
- The ladder should be the right size for the job
- The ladder should be long enough that the worker does not have to stand on the top step to work.
- Only one person should be on the ladder at a time.
- The ladder should be placed on a non-slippery surface which should also be level.
- Ladders must not be placed in front of doors. If unavoidable, the door should be locked or guarded at all times to prevent a collapse.
- Read all safety information that comes with the ladder. The safety manual is specific for each ladder and workers should be well versed in them.
- All locks on an extension ladder have to be secured before use.
- The maximum load rating of the ladder must not be exceeded. This includes the combined weight of the tools and equipment.
- The ladder should not be moved or shifted when a worker is on it.
- Alternative equipment should be considered if the worker has to work for more than 30 minutes at an elevated height.