SP06 Safe Use Of Ladders

Purpose/Scope:

Incorrect ladder use is one of the most common causes of workplace falls and injuries while working at height. Ladder incidents may result from a number of causes, the most common being incorrect placement and use.

Procedures:

Silverback and subcontracted personnel are to comply with the relevant provisions of the following procedural requirements and references. The typical hazards addressed by this procedure include:

Hazards Risk (Potential)
  • Falls from heights
  • Falling objects
High

All ladders used by Silverback workers or subcontractors are to have a minimum load rating of at least 120kg and be manufactured for industrial use.

Ladders must not be used to support a weight greater than that for which it is designed and are not to be longer than:

  1. Single ladder-6.1m
  2. Extension ladder – 7.5m
  3. Extension ladder used to do electrical work – 9.2m

Ladders are not to be used to support platforms unless they are purpose built trestle ladders.

Single and extension ladders are to be placed at an angle of 70°-80° from the horizontal and where access is required to a platform above, the ladder is to extend at least 1 m above the platform level.

Ladders must be designed in accordance with the following Australian Standards depending on their use and type of construction material:

  1. AS 1892.1 -Metal
  2. AS 1982.2-Wood
  3. AS 1657 – Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders – Design, construction and installation

All ladders are to be adequately secured against displacement whilst in use. This is to be achieved by workers spotting ladders while others climb, or by tying off ladders at the top and bottom where practicable. Workers are to ensure that the structure/job piece supporting the top of the ladder is capable of withstanding the load.

All ladders are to have firm, level footing. Makeshift foundations (ie. metal off-cuts or blocks etc.) are not to be used.

Only one person is to access a ladder at any one time and excessive tools, materials, etc are not to be carried in the hands while climbing.

A person on a ladder must not reach out from the ladder, causing instability and must keep three points of ladder contact at all times, (two hands one foot or two feet one hand), unless the person is holding a section of the structure that is stable.

Ladders are not be used:

  1. in access areas or within the arc of swinging doors;
  2. on working platforms to gain height above a protected edge;
  3. to support a working platform.

Portable step ladders are only to be used in the fully opened position.

Portable step ladders are to be of a length that ensures a person’s feet are not positioned any higher than the third highest tread.

Specifically on Silverback sites, ladders are not to be used in the following ways:

  1. for workers to undertake anything but light work activities for limited time periods on the ladder,
  2. for workers to stand on unsecured ladders while reaching outwards and risking overturn, and
  3. for workers to erect temporary trestles between step-ladders or on other workplace equipment and materials.

Where a worker is unsure of a particular ladder placement, a supervisor should be sought for additional advice.

References:

QLD Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, Sections 28-31

QLD Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 1997, Part 18

AS 1892.1 – 1996: Portable Ladders, Part 1 – Metal

AS 1892.2 – 1992: Portable Ladders, Part 2 – Timber

AS 1892.5 – 2000: Portable Ladders Part 5 – Selection, Safe Use and Care

Responsibility:

(To monitor compliance with this procedure) – Construction Supervisor

(Items 1-14) – Subcontractors and Silverback personnel specifically involved in the placement and use of ladders on site

Documentation:

• No specific records to be maintained by Silverback

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