Stainless steel rods are a popular solution to create safe climbing surfaces in the food processing industry. Whether you work in the food & beverage industry or require climbing surfaces for another reason, it is important to consider which alloy is appropriate for your application. Steel rungs are popular for new ladder construction, and are often painted for corrosion resistance and sometimes to draw attention to the user to provide a higher level of safety in various work conditions. Stainless steel rod does not corrode, rust or stain with water as ordinary steel does, so it is a good choice where sanitation and durability are required. Aluminum is a lightweight material that is also corrosion resistant, and is liked due to is portability. After selecting which metal ladder is best for your application, it is important to also review the following safety guidelines.
Ladders should be inspected before each use to check for defects:
- Has the ladder been properly placed?
- Place ladder on a flat, secure surface.
- Place ladder on a non-movable hard surface as it will sink into a soft surface.
- Lean ladder against a secure surface, not boxes or barrels.
- Do not place ladder in front of a door.
- Position base of ladder one foot away for every four feet of height to where it rests (1:4 ratio).
- Ladder rails should extend at least three feet above top landing.
- Does everything appear suitable for use?
- Check the stiles and rungs for signs of corrosion.
- Free from dents.
- Feet should be level and intact and fixed ladders should be properly bolted.
- Rods and stringers must be free from cracks and other noticeable defects.
- Have all employees been trained on proper ladder use?
- Check shoes to ensure they are free of grease or mud.
- Mount the ladder from the center, not from the side.
- Face ladder when ascending or descending, and hold on with both hands.
- Carry tools in pockets, in a bag attached to a belt, or raised and lowered by rope.
- Don’t climb higher than the third rung from the top.
- Work facing the ladder.
- Do not overreach, always keep your torso between the ladder rails.
- Have special circumstances been taken into account?
- When using ladder for high places, securely lash or fasten the ladder to prevent slipping.
- Avoid outdoor ladder use on windy days.
- Avoid aluminum ladders if work must be done around electrical wires or power lines.
- When a ladder provides access to a roof or working platform, it must extend 1.05 meters or five rungs above the access point.
- Does the ladder comply with Occupational Safety Healthy Administration (OSHA) standards?
- There are different standards
- OSHA standard 1926.1053(a)(6)(i) states – The rungs and steps of fixed metal ladders manufactured after March 15, 1991, shall be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material, or otherwise treated to minimize slipping.
- Is it approved by Underwriter’s Laboratory?
- Only use ladders approved by Underwriters Laboratory (look for the UL seal).
- SlipNOT® is registered slip resistant with Underwriters Laboratories per the UL 410 and has been evaluated at almost double UL’s requirements for slip resistant materials.
When researching non-slip ladder rungs you may consider SlipNOT®’s metal safety products. Do you have existing rods on your ladders that may not pass this checklist? Another solution to consider is ladder rung covers that can transform your ladder into a safety ladder.
Is Your Ladder Safe?