When carting your ladder around a work site, what’s the best way to carry it? Ladder safety is important. While ladders are a fairly safe device, if carried incorrectly they could become harmful – causing falls, cuts, or bruises. Ladders are, by nature, clunky objects to carry around because of their length. They tend to swing or fall depending on how they are carried, and outside factors like wind. Also, they can cause injuries to the back, neck, and shoulder to a person carrying the ladder incorrectly.
According to one statistic, over 225,000 accidents every year are directly related to ladder mishaps. Let’s help get those numbers down by learning the three proper ways to carry a ladder.
Ladder Safety: Ways To Carry
- High-Shoulder Method. This method uses your shoulder to support the weight of the ladder and rail. This is a great method for a person carrying a ladder on their own, although it takes some practice to feel balanced. It is recommended to start with something like a 14-foot ladder and then move your way up to longer ladders so that you can get used to the method and using just the one arm – leaving your second hand free for carrying tools or other items. The best way to get the ladder into position from the ground is to walk the ladder up to your shoulder. You begin by picking up a side of the ladder so that it rests on its beam, and place the end of the bottom beam on your shoulder. You then walk forward and pull the rungs towards you as the beam slides up your shoulder. Eventually, you will reach a balance point where the ladder comfortably balances on your shoulder.
- Low-Shoulder Method. This method places the ladder below the shoulder with the carrying arm extending through the rails to support the weight of the ladder. To do this, you begin with the ladder on the ground, grasping it by the middle rung. From a kneeling pose, lift the ladder and turn it onto its side. Place your free arm between two rungs so that the upper rail rests on the shoulder.
- Arms-Length Method. This method has the carrier holding the ladder by the thin metal side rail with their fingers. To do this, a person can start with the ladder on the ground, grabbing a hold of one of the rails (which will become the top rail) towards the center of the ladder. Starting from a kneel, the person can then slowly rise, lifting the ladder and holding it down past the hip at arms length, with their hand around the center of the top rail.
Ladder Safety Comes First!
As always, when handling ladders, taking the time and consideration to learn the best practices of handling them is valuable in preventing injury and other mishaps. By setting yourself up for success, your ladder use will be more efficient and less hazardous!