Wearing a hard hat is a necessity in any work environment where there are risks of head injuries. It is just as essential to stay informed on the new standards in effect in order to maintain the OHS program up to date. Here are a few of the most recent changes, as well as a reminder of the key points concerning head protection.
The use of stepladders and ladders offers a practical solution to access different locations without having to climb up. However, we should take into account that all types of falls is the second leading cause of accidental death in Canada, and three out of four involve a ladder! Most falls from a ladder can be attributed to these three main situations:
- The wrong type of ladder was used (too short, in aluminum near an electrical source, etc.)
- The ladder has broken or tipped over (poor condition of the ladder or installed near a traffic area, or on an uneven or slippery ground).
- The ladder has been incorrectly used (wrong inclination of the ladder during installation, worker not centered on the ladder, etc.)
Certain essential rules to follow in order to make the use of portable ladders safer.
Proper ladder installation
The key word is stability. The ladder must be installed on a flat surface with an angle of about 1 meter out of every 4 meter in height, corresponding in 75 degrees between the base and its support point. The top of the ladder must, at least, three rungs above the resting place, which is one meter. Install the ladder in front of the access zone to avoid overstretching the arms, stand on tip toes or tilt the head back.
A few rules to move up the ladder
In Canada, the CSA Group dictates the manufacturing standards of ladders according to the load they need to carry and the type of use (industrial, commercial or residential). Ensure that the ladders used comply with the CSA Z11-12 standard.
- Check that the rungs are strong, free of grease, dirt, ice, etc.
- Always stand in the center of the ladder, facing it when going up or down.
- Remember that it may be difficult to work from a ladder, especially if you must handle tools as you have always keep three points of contact at all times (see image).
- A ladder is not a permanent work station. It is used only for a limited period before we must go down!
- Do not use the top three rungs.
- If the work to be done is above 3 meters high, involve movements where the worker will not be able to keep his center of gravity on the ladder or must use both his hand, then, we opt for a fall protection system.
Do you have specific fall protection needs?
At SPI Health and Safety, we are committed to meeting your expectations with our engineering services that can create customized equipment according to the challenges you may be facing.
“Never overlook workers’ safety; it is, therefore, essential to secure the ladder they will use. For example, we have designed a ladder lateral support for customers needing to access the rooftop of their building. In addition to stabilizing the ladder and avoid tipping over, these brackets define the access zone and secure the transition,” explains Annie Chantelois, Engineering and Infrastructure Director.
Different brackets can be installed at the base of the ladder and be adapted to multiple types of terrains. Let us advise you!
When training is necessary, start at the bottom of the ladder
As your employer, you are responsible to inform and provide a fall protection training program if your workers are using ladders and their working conditions involve risks, such as those listed at point F. At SPI Health and Safety, we provide a great selection of training sessions that will meet the specific requirements of your company. Don’t hesitate to contact our experts!