Falls from elevated surfaces are frequently listed as one of the top causes of accidents in the retail and service industries. Most of these accidents occur due to failure to follow basic ladder safety.
In an industry that commonly utilizes ladders, workers must prevent injuries by practising the following safety tips:
Setting up safely:
Make sure workers select the correct ladder for the job – they should check the length and duty rating. Proper length is a minimum of one metre extending over the working surface.
Teach workers to inspect ladders before each use for loose or damaged:
- Rung dogs
- Safety feet
Workers should clear the area where they will be working and never place a ladder in front of a door that isn’t locked, blocked or guarded.
Because metal ladders conduct electricity, it’s crucial that employees use a wooden or fibreglass ladder near electrical equipment or machinery.
The ground underneath the ladder should be level and firm. Large, flat wooden boards braced underneath a ladder can help level it on an uneven surface or soft ground. Make sure workers know to never place a ladder on top of extra stock, product boxes or other potentially unstable surfaces.
Teach workers to use the 1:4 ratio to ensure safety when on a ladder. They should place the base of the ladder one-fourth metre away from whatever it’s leaning against for every one metre of height to the top of the ladder.
A ladder is good working order can still be a workplace hazard if not used cautiously. Employees should ask themselves the following questions when using a ladder:
- Is weight the ladder is supporting within the maximum load rating (user plus materials)?
- Is only one person climbing the ladder at a time?
- Is my body centred between the rails of the ladder at all times?
- Am I leaning too far to the side?
- Am I on the designated climbing area? (Do not step on the top step or bucket shelf, and do not attempt to climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.)
- Am I facing the ladder while climbing?
- Is the ladder safely stored now that I’m finished using it? Is it out of the path of customers?
- Am I wearing proper footwear for climbing a ladder?
Find Out More:
This list is not exhaustive, and assessing your company's exposures and taking the appropriate precautions can go a long way toward protecting your retail or service industry business.
Download our “Common Exposures for Retail Operations” guide for an in-depth list of more ways to minimize gaps in your risk management: