Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Ladder safety tips

Celebrations and festivities often mean a big cleanup or repainting work. You will probably be using a ladder to get at those hard-to-reach places. When using this contraption, be careful. Misuse of ladders can lead to accidents.

To avoid ending up with an arm or a leg in a cast, why not take a few hints from the following.
 
Basic rules
  •  Always inspect your ladder before climbing on it. Secure the footings properly, and make sure the rungs are secure too.
  •  Stand the ladder on firm ground; avoid leaning it sideways.
  •  Set the ladder at a safe angle. If it's too close to the wall, the ladder could fall. If you set it too far away, it could slip out or break under the strain. Single or extension ladders should be placed at the correct angle (75o) to prevent toppling or slipping.
  •  Never over-reach or twist your body away from the angle of the ladder. While working on one window for example, you may be tempted to lean over or "walk" the ladder over to clean adjacent areas. Never do this, instead climb down and reposition the ladder.
  •  Do not let ladders come in contact with electrical wiring.
  •  Do not place a ladder in front of a door that opens out towards the ladder.
  •  Never climb a bent, broken or damaged ladder, or make temporary repairs to it with tape.
  •  When you're ready to put the ladder away, do not store materials such as buckets or rags on the rungs. They may warp the rungs or dislodge them from the frame.
  •  Do not paint wooden ladders since paint can hide defects and seal in moisture that could cause warping.
Step ladder
  •  If you're using a step ladder, make sure you open it fully, and see that it is stable before climbing it.
  •  Don't place a step ladder on boxes, unstable bases, or on scaffolds.
  •  Never erect a scaffold across a step ladder.
  •  Do not stand or sit on the top cap (step) of a step ladder.
Extension ladder
  •  Never stand on the top rung of an extension ladder.
  •  Make sure the extension ladder is right side up.