Ladder safety is important not only for the construction industry and fencing, our specialty, but also for almost everyone who does home or property projects—changing fire alarm batteries, painting, remodeling, tree trimming, or even fence installation.  Whoever needs a ladder needs ladder safety.  We at Rutkoski Fencing, Inc., use different types of ladders every day, and we strive never to take them for granted.  Safety is our goal—our high-quality workmanship follows safe execution.  Falls are the second-leading cause of death each year, but Best Practices and training decrease these horrible incidents.

We hope our dedication to Ladder Safety benefits our customers when dealing with these necessary, often awkward tools we need to reach above our heads.

Ladders put us in strange environments—with unfamiliar risks.  Before we climb, we first search for electrical hazards, exposed indoor wires, overhead powerlines.  No one should stand on a metal ladder near any exposed electrical source or equipment.  Fiberglass does not conduct electricity and greatly reduces danger.

Ladders have limits, and while ascending them, we carry tools with lanyards, calculating the weight of the equipment so as not to exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder.

Even though ladders can be clumsy and unstable, we engage and click each hinge and lock, setting our ladders on firm, level surfaces.  Wood, loose rocks, and job scraps might work initially to balance or add height, but they can create a shaky base and a threat of tipping, falling, or leaning.  While some ladders rely on other surfaces for support, we stress that they extend at least three feet above that point for maximum safety.

Balance, the base on the ground and our placement on its rungs is essential for all ladders.  We never climb higher than the third rung from the top unless the top steps are designed for us to stand on.  While climbing, regardless of the design, we practice three-point contact: two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand, staying in the middle of each step, our center weight between the rails, our eyes on the rungs, up and down.

Selecting the right ladder is part of planning.  We most often use step ladders, extension ladders, and mobile ladder stands.  Of course, different types have different weight limits, structures, heights, and guidelines, but two different makes of the same ladder may also have different manufacturers’ specifications.

We always identify the most appropriate ladder for the task, but not before inspecting it first for any noticeable damage: slippery substances; residues like oil, chemicals, or even dry paint; loose or missing rungs, nails, screws, bolts, etc.; cracks, dents, rust, bows, or slivers; and missing labels.

Ladders are full of inherent risks as we learn with each use.  We are safety-first, putting our team’s and customers’ safety ahead of everything.

Almost forgot to mention…at the end of the workday, we hang our ladders horizontally indoors, out of the elements.

Come back next month for another glimpse into our Best Practices!

National Ladder Safety Month is the only movement dedicated exclusively to the promotion of ladder safety, at home and at work. During March 2024, National Ladder Safety Month will bring heightened awareness to the importance of the safe use of ladders through resources, training and a national dialogue. Learn how you can participate today by clicking #LadderSafetyMonth