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Ladder safety is a common topic in the warehouse industry, but it is just as important for construction workers, tree cutters, lineworkers, people at home, and more.

It might seem as though the person most at risk of injury is the one using the ladder, but this is not always the case. By choosing to not follow safety guidelines when using ladders, you can cause items -boxes, equipment, tools, etc. – onto people below. It just isn’t worth the risk!

Below you’ll find some ladder safety tips. It may seem like we’re nagging you about this, but it’s because we want you – and your coworkers – to stay safe!

Ladder Safety Tips

Inspect the ladder

Before climbing a ladder, give it a look. Are the rungs attached firmly? Is it balanced and steady?
Three points of contact
Keep three points of contact with the ladder. The “three points” is referring to three of your four hands and feet. Always keep three points – 3 of your hands/feet – on the ladder at all times. This will help you maintain your balance.
Image shows hard hat, dirty work gloves, and a yellow and orange safety vest upon a white wooden ladder A.R.M. action resource management
Image of young warehouse worker wearing overalls and standing on a short ladder placing a box on a shelf A.R.M. action resource management

Avoid the top two steps
The higher you climb on a ladder, the less stable – and therefore safe – it tends to become. Here’s why: you can’t keep the three points of contact and so your balance is in danger. There’s hardly anything to keep you steady that far up. Just don’t do it!

Don’t carry things as you climb
The three points of contact are back! Find a safer, more efficient way to get items to higher places – use a bucket, rope, or a forklift if you have one handy. If you need to carry tools with you, utilize a tool belt. When tools are placed correctly in the belt, they are far less likely to slip out and fall.

The buddy system
You know this one but it’s always worth mentioning: have someone hold the ladder steady while you are on it. The buddy system is helpful if you end up having to pass up items.

Slow and steady for the win
There are lots of times in life when it’s beneficial to rush. Working on and around ladders is not one of them. Take one step or rung at a time climbing up and then climbing back down the ladder. Rushing is not safe.

Three images in one: the first shows a worker wearing a harness on a ladder; the second is a worker coming down a ladder facing the wrong direction; the third shows another worker wearing a harness ascending a ladder
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Weary? Switch buddy tasks
If you have been climbing up and down a ladder all day, you might well feel worn out. If you do feel this way, switch spots with your buddy – let them go up the ladder and you stay below to steady the ladder. If you’re working alone, check in with  Pay attention to your body and be safe, not sorry.

Ladder Safety — Final thoughts

Please follow safety guidelines and the posted rules and regulations at your workplace at all times. Keep yourself safe, keep others safe, and keep a clean workspace. It’s that simple – just follow the rules!

To learn more about ladder safety from OSHA, please visit there website here.

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