During Ladder Safety Month, learn the “belt buckle rule” and other tips for preventing painful falls.
Nearly every home and workplace has a ladder lying around someplace. So you’d think most people would know how to use them safely, right?
“Falls are one of the top three causes of serious workplace injuries,” said Leigh Manning, senior safety management consultant at SAIF. “And ladders are a leading culprit.”
One easy tip everyone can try at home is “the belt buckle rule”: always keep your belt buckle (or belly button) between the rails of the ladder.
“This ensures you aren’t overreaching or throwing off your balance,” explains Manning.
Manning offers these additional tips to stay safe on a ladder:
- Do make sure you have the right ladder for the job. Don’t use boxes, milk crates, chairs, or similar items in place of a ladder.
- Do inspect ladders before each use. Don’t use a broken ladder.
- Do set up a ladder on a stable, level surface. Open stepladders fully and engage the locking mechanism. Secure the ladder, if necessary, to prevent movement.
- Don’t use a stepladder as a straight ladder.
- Do maintain three points of contact (both feet and one hand, or both hands and one foot) when climbing. Don’t carry tools in your hands when climbing. (Wear a tool belt, or haul them up with a rope.)
- Don’t stand on the cap or top rung of a stepladder, or on the top three rungs of an extension ladder. (Make sure extension ladders extend at least 3 feet past the step-off.)
- Do wear slip-resistant footwear and keep the ladder free of mud and grease.
- Don’t use a ladder if you are light-headed, dizzy, on medication, fatigued, or otherwise impaired.
SAIF is Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we’ve been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page on saif.com.