Fall From Elevations Prevention
Below are safety checklists, taken from Habitat for Humanity’s “Construction Safety Policy,” to prevent falls from scaffolding and from ladders.
- All scaffolding that is elevated 10 feet or more must be equipped with a safety railing.
- All scaffolds must be equipped with a toeboard to eliminate the possibility that tools or debris will be kicked or pushed onto people below.
- A scaffold must be designed to support four times the weight of the workers and the materials resting on it.
- Scaffolding components that are not designed to be compatible should not be mixed.
- Inspect all scaffolding each day before using it. Never use damaged or defective equipment and avoid rusted parts since their strength is unknown.
- When erecting scaffolding, provide adequate sills for the scaffold posts and use base plates. Use adjusting screws, not blocks, when on an uneven grade.
- Make sure to plumb and level scaffolding and do not force end braces when constructing the scaffolding.
- Many scaffolding accidents are caused by defective planking. Use only properly graded and inspected lumber for planking. Inspect planking daily for splits and knots, and remove defective or damaged planking.
- Inspect a ladder before you use it. If the ladder is unsafe, don’t use it. Look for wear and tear, loose rungs and defects.
- Use a ladder that will reach the work. An extension ladder should reach 3 feet above the work level.
- Move your ladder with your work. If both of your shoulders are extended outside the ladder while you are working, you are reaching too far.
- When using an extension ladder, use the “4-to-1” rule: For every 4 feet of height, move the bottom of the ladder 1 foot away from the wall. A ladder is pitched at the proper, safe angle if you can grasp a rung at shoulder height.
- Place your ladder on solid footing. If there is a danger of the ladder moving while you work, tie it down. If there is a danger that the ladder will be hit, barricade it. If the feet of the ladder are not level, dig the ground out under one foot with the claw of a hammer rather than raise one foot with blocks.
- Never use a ladder outdoors during inclement weather or on very windy days.
- Carry tools and materials in proper carrying devices and keep your hands free for climbing. When climbing, always face the ladder.