Safety Tip of the Week

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares tips about ladder safety in the workplace.

Ladder Safety – Three Points of Contact

During this time of year decorations can be a very important part of the classroom and putting up decorations may include climbing a ladder. When climbing a ladder, it is safest to use “Three Points-of-Contact” because it minimizes your chance of slipping and falling from the ladder.  At all times during ascending, descending and working on a ladder, you should face the ladder. Keeping two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder steps, rungs and/or side rails.  In this way, you will be less likely to be unstable in the event you slip during climbing.  It is important to note that you should not carry any objects in either hand that can interfere with your grip on the ladder. If you are unable to grip and maintain “Three Points-of-Contact” with the ladder, the chance of falling is increased.

Some factors contribute to falls from ladders such as haste, worn condition of the ladder and your footwear.

Improper climbing posture can create clumsiness and may cause falls. Reduce your chances of falling during climbing by:

  • Wearing slip-resistant shoes.
  • Cleaning the soles of shoes to maximize traction.
  • Using an assistant to carry materials so that your hands are free when climbing.
  • Climbing slowly and deliberately and avoiding sudden movements.
  • Never attempting to move a ladder while standing on it.
  • Keeping the center of your belt buckle (stomach) between the ladder side rails when climbing and working. Do not overreach or lean while working so that you don’t fall off the ladder sideways or pull the ladder over sideways while standing on it.
  • Making sure the ladder is placed on level secure ground before climbing.
  • Making sure you do not step on the top rung on the ladder and that you choose a ladder that is the adequate size for your project.
  • Not placing ladders in front of doors where the door can be opened and knock the ladder over. Otherwise the door will need to blocked, locked or guarded.