November 2009
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Ladder and scaffold safety

Ladder and scaffold safety

Falls are one of the main sources of injuries and fatalities in the roofing industry. Safety precautions are important when workers are using ladders and scaffolds.

Following are some general safety tips from About.com and The Center to Protect Workers Rights to help you safely use such equipment:

  • Inspect ladders regularly, and be sure to inspect them for cracks or broken joints before using them.
  • Place ladders on stable, even, flat surfaces. Never place a ladder on top of another object.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing or descending.
  • Keep both feet on the ladder. Never put one foot on a rung and the other on a different surface.
  • Be sure supported scaffolds have completely planked platforms, proper access, complete guardrails and proper ties to buildings, where required.
  • Keep a scaffold's wood planks unpainted so any cracks will be visible.
  • Keep scaffolds 10 feet or more from power lines unless you are sure the power lines are de-energized.
  • Do not work on a scaffold in high winds or during a storm unless a competent person says it is safe and you use personal fall protection. (A competent person is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a person who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards and has authorization to take prompt measures to eliminate them.)
  • Protect people below the scaffold. There must be a 3 1/2-inch-high toe board to prevent objects from falling off a scaffold. If objects on a scaffold are taller than the toe board, systems such as debris nets should be used to catch falling materials. People should be prevented from walking under or near the scaffold.
  • A competent person must provide training for any worker who assembles, takes apart, moves, operates, repairs, maintains or inspects scaffolds.


This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Safe Solutions.

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