Leo's HVAC Tips: Ladder Safety
No MakeshiftsHow many times have you used an oil drum, a bucket, a box, or a chair to step on because a ladder wasn't handy? It's pretty dumb, but we've all done it at one time or another.
Most of us have gotten away with it. But I know of some broken arms and hands that resulted from it - and even a broken back.
If you've done it and gotten away with it, it means you won the gamble. But think of what you bet. You bet a few minutes of time against a loss of $100,000 of income - plus suffering for you and your family.
Keep ControlThe biggest danger when carrying ladders is hitting someone or something. You are not going to be popular if you knock over a homeowner's favorite lamp or break a technician's test instruments.
When possible, carry a ladder vertically and against your chest. Be aware of electrical wires or other overhead obstacles. A long ladder should be carried horizontally by two workers - one on each end - so that it can be controlled at both ends. If you must carry a ladder in a horizontal position by yourself, be very aware of the position of both ends of the ladder.
Damaged LaddersDon't use damaged ladders. We've heard it a hundred times, yet we still do it. If the steps or rungs of a ladder are cracked, bent, or broken, get it back to the shop for replacement. The same goes for anything on a ladder that isn't working as it should. A wooden ladder should never be painted. That just covers up cracks.
You are not doing your boss a favor by making do with a damaged ladder. If there is an injury related to the ladder, your company stands a good chance of a hefty fine from OSHA.
Adapted from Safety for the Indoor Environment Technician, LAMA Books; www.lamabooks.com.
Publication date: 08/22/2005