Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Falls are one of the most common incidents in a workplace and at home. The cause of these is mainly from use of incorrect equipment or the job. In construction the cost of falls per year is estimated at $24 million. Preventing falls in the workplace needs to be a priority for workers, contractors, management.
Control the Hazard
To stay safe when working at height, you need to ensure effective controls are in place to prevent people being harmed. To select the most effective controls, you must consider the hierarchy of control:
Eliminate the chances of a fall by doing as much of the preparation work as possible on
Isolate the worker from the risk of a fall by using scaffolds and edge protection to prevent
Only when these steps are not achievable should the risk be minimized by using Personal Protection Items such as harness and ropes.
When to Use a Ladder
Ladders do not offer any protection from a fall. Ladders are primarily a means of access to carry out light tasks that are of short duration.
This could be reaching a shelf up high, changing a light bulb, touching up paint, testing a smoke alarm.
When selecting the best way to work at height, always assess the hazard of a fall by following the hierarchy of controls - elimination, isolation and minimization.
Also ask yourself the following questions:
Inspect the ladder prior to use
Ladder to be industrial standard with 120kg or 150kg rating and complies with AS/NZS 1892 standard
Ladder should be clearly labeled Face steps towards the work activity
Use in a safe environment free from clutter
Firm level base - secure base so the ladder does not move
Secure the ladder at top and bottom
Stay near the center of the ladder
Maintain 3 points of contact to the ladder
Stop at the third step from the top of a straight ladder
Carry tools using a tool belt
Establish stabilising stays, locking clips or locking arms securely
Ensure the ladder is at least 4m clear from overhead power lines
Ladder to extend 1 metre beyond disembarking point
Do not extend ladders while standing on rungs
Do not overload or carry loads on ladders
Do not allow more than one person at one time on the ladder
Do not stand ladders on moveable objects or uneven ground
Do not overreach, keep line of belt buckle inside the stiles
Avoid holding items when climbing and use a tool belt
Avoid side-loading work
Do not use a ladder that is covered in chemicals or other materials
Do not rest tools or materials on ladder
Do not use a broken ladder
Do not carry heavy items on a ladder
Our team are available if you require a Safe Work Procedure for Ladders
Please contact us if you require any advice.