Toolbox Talk: Ladder Safety

Knowledge of ladder safety is extremely important for electricians. To learn the ABCs of portable ladder safety, check out IEC National’s latest toolbox talk on their National Electrical Safety page. Then, take a look at some tips from us here at IEC-KYIN:

Before setting up a ladder, inspect it for defects.

  • Make sure the latches on the extension ladders are secured before climbing.

  • Never use a ladder with split or missing rungs.

  • Never use a ladder with grease, oil or any other slippery substance on the rungs or rails.

  • Defective ladders that cannot be repaired on the spot must be tagged and removed.

  • Make sure the ladder feet move freely and are slip resistant.

The ladder should extend three feet over the top of the building and be secured.

  • If the ladder is not tall enough to extend three feet over then it must be tied off, and there must be a secure grab rail.

For every four feet of building height, the base of the ladder should be set one foot away from the building.

  • Set the ladder on firm ground and make sure that it is secure.

  • Concrete and compact soil are an ideal surfaces.

  • Avoid unstable rocks, loose sand, mud and ice.

  • If the ladder does not have slip resistant feet, dig a sma

  • ll trench and place the base of the ladder in the trench to keep it from slipping.

  • Follow safe work practices for climbing and carrying ladders.

  • Keep at least one hand on the ladder at all times when climbing up or down.

  • Face the ladder when climbing in either direction.

  • Keep ladders, especially metal ones, away from overhead power lines.

  • Get help when moving heavy ladders.

Ladder Safety Training Tip

  • When training others about ladder safety, emphasize the danger of a mistake as simple as accidentally hitting a power line with a metal ladder. Explain that electricity will cause muscles to contract so that the employee cannot let go of the ladder, and also explain that no one can help him or her because helpers will get electrocuted as well. This is often a fatal accident.

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