Ryan Cash

How to You Prevent Falls from Ladders? How Can you be safe on a ladder? Are Ladders Safe? Is my ladder setup ok?

These are all questions that run through our heads whenever we work at heights on a jobsite.

Did you know that CDC statistics show that 43% of fatal falls in the last decade involved a ladder, and among construction workers, an estimated 81% of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments involve a ladder?

There are a few things you can use to help prevent catastrophic falls and injuries:

  • Ladder Stabilizer Bars/Stand Offs ($26): An absolute must. These prevent the ladder from sliding back an forth but also protect the home’s gutters from dents and scrapes from your ladder.

  • Leg Levelers ($150): Essential for safe residential work. When working on uneven terrain/hills/etc. these allow you to properly place a ladder and ensure that you’ve got a safe and vertical ladder.

  • Extension Bar ($199): OSHA requires ladders to extend 3’ beyond the top of a roof for safe access. Use these to meet that 3’ requirement and also create an easy pass through to safely access a roof!

All three of these can be used to make roof access safe and easy!

Additional, it's important to know that You cannot “test” a ladder for slide out by simply stepping on, or jumping on, the bottom rungs.

Understanding ladder slide out is a fairly complicated physics problem. When you’re on the bottom rungs of the ladder, almost all of your weight and force are pushing vertical, downwards onto the pivot point on the ground. As you climb higher on the ladder, your weight and force begin to shift, increasing the torque on the ladder, causing potential slide out.

This is what makes slide out so dangerous. It’s likely to only occur when you are towards the top of the ladder. It’s essentially only the Force of Friction on the ground that is preventing the ladder from sliding out.

To best prevent this, it’s extremely important to have your ladder set properly. OSHA and ANSI recommend a 4:1 rise to run for ladder set ups (roughly 77.5 degrees). Normally, if you stand with your feet at the base of the ladder and reach straight out, your arms should just be in contact with the rungs.

Here Are a Few resources to check out that will help you understand proper setup and use of ladders on a jobsite!

Understanding Ladder Slide Out

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RoofTec Systems XCS500

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