To prevent near misses Table 3: 4-to-1 Rule – or worse – from hap6. Maintain three points of contact at all times, minpening, conduct training Building Ladder Base imizing the chances of slipping and falling (see sessions on how to Height Distance from Figure 1). properly carry ladders (ft) Building (ft) At all times during the ascent, descent and while to prevent accident or 12 3 working, the climber must face the ladder and have injury. We don’t make any two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in 16 4 money until that ladder contact with the ladder steps, rungs or side rails. In this is safely moved from the 20 5 way, the climber is less likely to become unstable in truck, set up properly the event that one limb slips while on the ladder. 24 6 and tied off at the top on It is important to note that a climber must not carry both sides to prevent the 28 7 any objects in either hand that can interfere with a firm ladder from shifting under grip on the ladder. Otherwise the three points of con32 8 weight while people are tact at all times with the ladder cannot be adequately climbing up and down. 36 9 maintained and the chance of falling is increased in the Proper ladder climbing event a hand or foot slip occurs. 40 10 toolbox talks are another great resource, however, Large Ladder Handling they are unfortunately underutilized. You can usually Ever see only one person carrying or setting up a tell how safe an individual will be on the roof by how 28-foot ladder? A worker can easily trip or lose his he climbs the ladder. Even though ladders don’t seem balance while carrying the ladder. He ends up dropping to be heavy, it’s the sudden angle changes that causes and damaging the ladder or causing himself a back back injuries. injury. It is a good safety practice to use the buddy sysPlease remember to be careful when walking tem: two team members should work together to set around trucks with ladders on top of ladder racks, up a large ladder. Doing so will help prevent personal taller people don’t pay attention and end up walking injury, damage to the ladder or damage to the building right into the ladder with their head, face or eyes. This or other property onsite. can cause cuts, loss of vision, stitches and a trip to the Once, I had just arrived on a jobsite and, while park- emergency room. ing my truck, I saw an individual carrying a large ladder. At least once a week I see ladders on the highway He slipped and lost control of it and the ladder hit a or street, mangled because it was not secured prior to power line. We were all thankful that he let go of the transportation. It is imperative that ladders are seladder and ran away just before the ladder struck the cured to the ladder rack in the front and the back at all power line, so he wasn’t electrocuted. Still, it knocked times. the power out within a two-block radius and the power According to the US Department of Transportation company was called out to remove the ladder from (USDOT), we must use an orange or red safety flag the power source. The cause of this near miss was the for anything, including ladders, so other can see that individual carrying a large ladder by himself; he should something is protruding out farther than three feet in have had another person helping him. front of our vehicle or four feet in the back. Ladders should only be used for the purposes for Table 2: Ladder Weight which they were designed. 5. Do not overreach while on a ladder
Aluminum Weight (lbs)
Fiberglass Weight (lbs)
FLORIDA ROOFING | March 2022
Select the right ladder for the job.
2. Inspect the ladder before each use. 3. Set up the ladder with care using the 4-to-1 rule. For every four feet of building height, the base of the ladder needs to be one foot away from building. Always use a tape measure to find the distance to the building. Never step it off with your feet to measure, it won’t be accurate.
Per OSHA, maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet away from power lines with a ladder; however, 20 feet away is better. Remember, treat every power line as if it has a live current in it. Only the power company can tell you if the wires are live. The safest way to work