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March is Ladder Safety Month

Falls are the second leading cause of death behind highway crashes, and thousands of people are injured or die each year from falls from ladders or scaffolds. Most homes and businesses contain some type of ladder-be it a step stool to reach into a cabinet or an extension ladder for working on a roof. Therefore, preventing injuries and death while using ladders is the reason for March being named National Ladder Safety Month. Understanding how ladders work and are used, and about the various types of ladders, is necessary to remain safe and to prevent potential falls and injuries. 

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are five major causes of ladder falls and injury, including:

  1. Incorrect extension ladder setup angle. Approximately 40% of injuries are caused by a ladder sliding out at the base.
  2. Incorrect ladder selection. Selecting the wrong ladder can be deadly. Make certain the ladder is the correct height, comprises material that is nonconductive to avoid electrocution, and pay attention to the duty rating, which is the maximum amount of weight the ladder is manufactured to safely carry (this includes a person’s bodily weight plus equipment).
  3. Lack of ladder inspection.
  4. Improper ladder use.
  5. Lack of ladder safety information or training.

To remain safe and avoid injury, it is imperative to understand the various types of ladders and how to use them. 

There are multiple ways to remain ladder safe:

  1. Always read and follow ALL labels on the ladder prior to using the ladder.
  2. Be aware. Avoid electrical hazards such as overhead power lines before using a ladder.
  3. Inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder shows any sign of damage, immediately tag it as damaged and remove it from service.
  4. Maintain a three-point contact with the ladder (two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot). Remain in the middle of the step and face the ladder while climbing.
  5. Use ladders and specific accessories only as they were designed.

For more information on ladder safety or to learn or buy various ladders and safety equipment, please contact a UT&F showroom in Houston at 713-692-2323; in San Antonio at 210-495-8665; or College Station at 979-731-8665.