Welcome to: Ladder Safety and Fall Protection. In this learning activity, we’ll explore how to prevent injuries caused by falling from ladders or elevated heights. We’ll look at the parts of a ladder, ladder safety rules, and personal fall protection systems. Falls are the second leading cause of all workplace injuries. The most serious of these injuries are caused by falls from heights. Falling from a ladder can cause serious injuries. Thousands of Americans are injured every year due to ladder accidents. You can reduce your chance of injury and falling by following ladder safety rules. Different types of ladders have different rules. Let’s examine each type of ladder and the best rules to follow to avoid injuries. An extension ladder has two or more sections joined by a sliding mechanism, which allows it to be extended to the total length. The foot at the bottom of the ladder is made from rubber pads that keep contact with the ground. They typically swivel or rotate slightly in order to make better contact with the surface. The fly section is the top portion of the extension ladder. It’s the part where the climber rests while they’re close to the top. The base section remains in place. It has the runs used by the climbers as they ascend the ladder. There are two run locks attached to the fly section to keep the fly portion in place. To fit over the top of a rung or the fly section, these locks function as brackets and prevent the fly from sliding down once it supports the climber’s weight. Let’s look at the rules and procedures that should be followed when using extension ladders. Before each use, inspect the ladder. Ask yourself these questions as you inspect the ladder. Are the rungs in good condition? Do the ladder locks function correctly? Does the ladder have anti-slip feet, and if so, are they in good condition? Before using a ladder, follow these set up guidelines to ensure it’s safe before climbing it. Place the ladder on a solid level surface. Avoid putting the ladder on gravel or dirt, which could shift and cause the ladder to fall. Make sure both feet are planted firmly on the ground. Secure the bottom of the ladder or have someone hold it while you climb. Angle the ladder properly by using the 4 to 1 rule. The bottom of the ladder should be one foot away from the wall for every four feet the ladder rises. For example, if the ladder touches the wall 12 feet above the ground, the feet of the ladder should be three feet from where the ladder touches the roof. Make sure that both feet are securely on the surface. Don’t place a block under one foot if the surface isn’t level. When using the ladder to gain access to an upper landing such as a roof, deck, or walkway, the ladder should be extended above the surface by at least three feet or three rungs. This extension ensure some of the ladder can be held onto and transferring between the ladder and the landing. If a ladder is placed in front of a doorway, the door must be locked and a warning sign must be displayed. When using a ladder, it is important to observe the following guidelines. When climbing or descending a ladder, always face the ladder. Climb with both hands gripping the rungs, not the rails. Don’t attempt to hold tools or other objects in your hands when climbing ladders. Use a tool belt or bucket hanger for these items. Use the three-point grip method to ascend and descend. When working on a ladder to paint or do other projects, always keep at least one hand on the ladder. Keep your weight centered on the ladder. Don’t stand on the top four rungs of an extension ladder. Don’t overreach to the left or right. When reaching the edge of a landing to step onto, grab the top of the rails with both hands, and carefully step around the ladder. A stepladder is constructed with wide, flat steps, and two pairs of rails connected by a hinge at the top, and that opens at the bottom, so it can be freestanding without being attached to or supported by something else. Lock spreaders secure the two pairs of legs. Ladders also include a shelf which can support paint cans or other objects while working. Just like extension ladders, stepladders should always be inspected before use. When opening a stepladder, make sure the two hinged metal braces, called spreaders, are locked down and are straight. Never set up a stepladder on an uneven surface. Each of the feet must make firm contact with the surface of the ground or floor. Never sit or stand on the very top of a stepladder. In fact, the recommended ruled by step ladder manufacturers, is to never stand on the top two steps. If your knees are above the top of the stepladder, you are too high on the ladder. Use a stepladder that is about one meter, or three feet, shorter than the highest point you have to reach. This gives you a wider, more stable base, and places the shelf at a convenient working height. Place a stepladder at right angles to the work, with either the front or back of the steps facing the work. When working from a stepladder, keep your hips within the two vertical rails. Reaching too far to the left or right could cause the ladder to topple. Never lean a closed step ladder against a wall and then climb it, because it can easily slide out from under you. When working on or near electrical equipment, the ladder must be non-conductive. Use a fiberglass or wooden ladder. Never use an aluminum ladder near this equipment. One way to prevent falls is to use a personal fall arrest system. It anchors or ties the worker to a fixed object, through the use of a safety harness, which is worn by the technician. A lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device connects the safety harness to a fixed object and an anchor point. The anchorage point must be able to withstand 5,000 pounds of force. If the wearer loses their balance and falls, the lifeline prevents them from falling all the way to the ground. A personal fall arrest system can be worn when on a fixed ladder, roof, platform, walkway, or anywhere that a technician is working at an elevated height. Today, you’ve examined ladder safety and fall protection. You’ve explored how ladders work, the rules for working safely on ladders, and how the fall protection system works. Congratulations! You’ve completed: Ladder Safety and Fall Protection.