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K-State Today

June 4, 2013



Taking steps to safety: Promoting the prevention of slips, trips and falls

By Lisa Linck

Week one of National Safety Month promotes the prevention of slips, trips and falls. 

Falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in the work place and in homes.  With all the upcoming remodeling and construction projects over the summer months, proper ladder setup and usage can help prevent slips and falls at work or home. Ladder safety may seem simple, but too many injuries continue to occur every year. Keep yourself in control of your safety by removing common fall hazards and following these ladder safety tips: 

  • Choose the right ladder for the job and make sure you have received training on how to use it properly
  • Check the area you will be working in for hazards, such as cords or objects in the walkway
  • Don’t stand any higher than the third rung from the top of a ladder
  • Do not use ladders outdoors in windy or inclement weather, and if the weather turns while you are on it, descend immediately
  • Always keep at least three points of contact with the ladder — such as two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand
  • If the ladder is particularly long and heavy, get a coworker to help you carry it
  • Inspect the ladder before and after a job — don’t use a damaged or unsafe ladder
  • Read all warning labels carefully and follow directions before you climb
  • Place the base of the ladder on a firm, solid surface
  • Make sure the top of the ladder has firm support, too – never lean a ladder against a window pane or other unstable surface
  • A straight or extension ladder should be placed 1 foot away from the surface it rests against for every 4 feet of ladder height – make sure the ladder extends at least 3 feet over the top edge
  • Securely fasten straight and extension ladders to the upper support
  • Wear clean, dry, slip-resistant shoes and use ladders with slip resistant feet
  • Pay attention to the weight limits specific to the ladder you are using
  • Don't lean or overreach – reposition the ladder closer to the work instead
  • Don't use a ladder as a bridge or scaffold
  • Don't put a ladder on a box, barrel or other object to gain additional height
  • When you climb, always face the ladder and grip the rungs, not the siderails
  • Keep your body between the ladder siderails when climbing
  • Do not climb with tools in hand – use a tool belt
  • Climb down a ladder one rung at a time and don't jump off