According to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of fatal falls involve a ladder. That's a very high number, especially considering that individuals who use ladders in the workplace are supposed to receive basic ladder safety training first.
Health and safety experts would point out that the majority of these accidents involve complacency - but if that many falls are occurring when people have received basic training, how many are happening at home, in a domestic environment, with no training at all?
Thankfully, the risks involved with using a ladder can be dramatically reduced with a few key safety precautions. In this blog post, we're going take a look at how to tie off a ladder in order to reduce the chances of a fall occurring.
Step-by-step: how to tie your ladder
In case you aren't aware of the necessary steps required to effectively tie off a ladder for safety purposes, here is what you'll need to do:
1. Assess the stability of your ladder
The first thing you'll have to do is examine how much your ladder shakes or wobbles. By doing this, you will know how much tying is required to keep your ladder secure and minimise the risk of the top or bottom slipping.
Do this by placing your ladder in position and giving it a quick shake or kicking the base slightly.
2. Locate your anchor spot
Once the stability of your ladder has been determined, you will need to find a spot that will act as an anchor for tying, which will serve as the stabilisation mechanism for your ladder.
Anchors are usually a very solid spot, so once you have found something of this nature, you will be ready to move on. If no anchor point is present, you will have to make one yourself using something that is sturdy and level.
3. Get some assistance
After your anchor spot has been identified or created, call someone to keep the ladder still so you can climb it as you'll be asking for trouble by climbing an unstable ladder on your own.
Once you have got somebody else to help, grab some rope and begin to climb but remember, the person should not let go of the ladder until you have finished tying it in place.
4. Tie and anchor your ladder
Once you have reached your desired position, you will now need to begin binding the ladder and anchor with your rope. It's important that the tie is securely fastened in a way that won't allow it to become loose whilst you are in the middle of working.
Therefore, mindless binding will not be effective and you will have to implement one of the following binding knots:
- Square lashing knot
- Slegde knot
- Transom knot
- Shear lashing knot
If you are unfamiliar with any of these binding knots, you can find suitable tutorials across the web.
Additional tips for tying a ladder for safety
One more thing that you will need to note before attempting to tie off your ladder is to NEVER tie yourself to the ladder, no matter how good an idea you may think this is.
By tying yourself to your ladder, not only will you make it impossible to get off if the ladder were to ever slip and fall, but moving around the ladder whilst working will also be extremely difficult, making the overall job a lot harder than it needs to be. By tying yourself to your ladder, you will also be adding more weight, which could result in losing your balance and again falling.
You should never attempt to work on any ladder that is unstable or shaky. If no other ladders are available to use, then follow the above steps to ensure your ladder is properly tied off and the risk of falling is reduced. If you are unable to tie off your ladder for safety, then purchasing a new, sturdy ladder is your best option.
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READ MORE: Ladder Safety Tips