Working from height is one of the main causes of injury or fatality in the workplace due to slips and falls. Mobile ladder platforms are one example of a potentially dangerous working surface if not properly maintained and utilized. Employees should be trained on rules and regulations for using mobile ladder platforms to prevent accidents. For example, Duke Energy released a “Nuclear Safe Work Practice 2.2 Elevated Working Surfaces and Platforms – Including Scaffolds and Roofs”. This document provides information to protect employees from hazards when using a ladder and work platforms.
In Section 9, the document covers safe work practices for ladders and stresses the importance of ladders with damage or visible defects being removed and tagged as “DO NOT USE”. Inspect ladders to make sure oil, dirt and grease are present, check for broken components and missing or loose fasteners, rubber tips, springs and casters. Temporary replacement ladders can then be obtained and used until the damaged ladder is returned. Another important factor to consider when it comes to ladder safety is the weight capacity. Type III ladders can hold 200 lbs, Type II can hold 225 lbs and Type I can support 250 lbs, Type 1A can hold 300 lbs and Type1AA is capable of 375 lbs. Do not exceed these recommendations and make sure operators are aware of these ratings.
Using correct techniques when climbing mobile ladder platforms is crucial to employee safety. When climbing, the employee should face the ladder, keep their center of gravity between two side rails and maintain 3 points of contact (2 feet 1 hand or 1 foot and 2 hands). A mobile ladder platform is not intended for use near energized electrical equipment and should only be used on firm and level surfaces. Before climbing ensure the ladder stand caster brakes are locked or that front casters retract automatically (and lock) when weight is placed on the first step.
To prevent slips and falls on mobile platforms a slip resistant surface is necessary. A permanent solution is ideal, as taped on products need frequent replacement. SlipNOT® manufactures a slip resistant surface that can be applied to existing customer platforms and ladders or custom formed to specific dimensions. SlipNOT® ladder rung covers easily retrofit over unsafe rungs and stair treads can be easily welded or bolted onto existing steps.