Canada CAN3 Z11-12 – Portable Ladders
Canada Z259.12-11 – Fall Protection
B.C. – OHS Part 13, Ladders, Scaffolds, Temp Work Platforms
Alberta – OHS Code Part 8, Entrances, Walkways, Stairways, Ladders
Manitoba – Workplace Safety & Health Regs, 217/2006 Part 13
Nova Scotia – Occupational Safety General Regs Part 13.147, Ladders
New Brunswick – OHS Act, Part 11, Temporary Structures
There are countless styles of ladders, but ladders can be divided into three major categories. These categories are portable self-supporting ladders, portable non-self-supporting ladders, and fixed ladders. Portable self-supporting ladders are also called A-frame Ladders. They are called an A-frame because of the shape the ladder forms when it was set up. Because of their design, these ladders can stand up on their own and do not need to be set up against anything. Portable non-self-supporting ladders are often called extension ladders. They have to be set up against something for support but they are often much taller than A-frame ladders. The third style of ladder is a fixed ladder. These are permanent ladders that are attached to buildings. Fixed ladders often provide access to the top of buildings and construction sites. Each ladder style has different uses for the operator.
Fall protection requirements differ depending on the nation, area, state province, industry, etc. According to Canada, there is no set requirement for fall protection on a ladder, but fall protection is always a good idea, especially the higher you are on a ladder. In Canada, workers are required to tie in on a ladder if they exceed a height of 10 ft. on a ladder. Depending on the ladder, certain types of ladders have fall protection abilities or attachments available. For example, fixed ladders often have cages or platforms provided for added protection. But other forms of individual fall protection like harnesses and safety belts are also available.
Everyone is required to receive training prior to using a ladder. Also, training is required for every time you start using a different type of ladder or the working conditions of the job site change in a way that might affect safe ladder use. After initial ladder safety training has been completed refresher training needs to be administered. And one may ask “how often do I need refresher ladder safety training?” As a general rule of thumb, refresher training should be administered every three years.
All ladders need to be inspected before every use. Because ladders are used so much they are prone to being damaged easily they should be inspected before each use. These ladder inspections should not be looked over or skipped. Ladders are such a commonly used thing that people often take no thought of the potential dangers associated with ladders. By performing a thorough daily pre-use ladder inspection you can avoid many dangers.
When inspecting a ladder, you need to check all of the different components, in particular, the rungs, side rails, and feet. Look for things like bends and breaks in the rails and welding. Check for cracks and damage in the side rails. All of these things will weaken the strength of the ladder and could cause it to fail while being used. Other things to look for are rusted parts and dirt or grease covered components as well. These can cause you to slip or fall off the ladder. As you get into different styles of ladders like specialty ladders make sure you check all of the different components like extension braces, ropes, and pullies, rivets, spreads, etc. The biggest thing to remember when inspecting a ladder is to look for anything that could potentially lead to an accident, cause the ladder to break, or create a dangerous situation.