a person in blue overalls painting a ceiling white while standing on a ladder

National Ladder Safety Month 2023: Safety Tips at the Top

As National Ladder Safety Month wraps up, let's look at what you should do to stay safe at the top.

You’ve made it. You’re at the top of the ladder. But safety doesn’t stop here.

In early March, OH&S addressed factors to consider when selecting the right ladder for the job. Then, we covered how to safely use the ladder. To close out National Ladder Safety Month 2023, we’ll address the safety steps you need to abide by when you’re at the top, as outlined by the American Ladder Institute (ALI) and OSHA.

Pay Attention to What Step or Rung You’re On

Don’t stand on the top cap and the top step of a stepladder, and don’t stand on the top three rungs of an extension ladder. A different ladder may be needed or adjustments may be necessary if you can’t reach your destination without using these steps and rungs. Keep in mind that an extension ladder should extend three feet above the landing area, but if it can’t, the top of the ladder should be secured, per OSHA.

Keep the Top Clear

Make sure there is nothing around the area near the top of the ladder, according to Virginia Tech, including items like “scrap materials and debris.”

Follow the Three-Point-of-Contact Rule

Even though you’re at the top, it’s still vital to follow this rule. Ensure that your body is always maintaining three points of contact with the ladder. You should also never overreach. Overreaching is one of the two leading causes of ladder incidents, per ALI.

Don’t Try to Move the Ladder

If you have to move the ladder, climb down and move it when no one is on it. Never attempt to shift your body weight to move the ladder, explained the speaker in a 2022 ALI webinar. Not only could it cause damage to the ladder, but you could also fall.

Just because Ladder Safety Month 2023 is coming to a close does not mean education and training should as well. Continue to learn more and teach your employees how to safely use ladders year-round. It might just save a life.

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