When Can You Use The Cross-Bracing Given On The Rear Of A Step Ladder For Climbing?

Last Updated on April 18, 2021 by Daleria Kristy

According to safety standards, protocols, and international best practices in construction, you should not attempt to use the cross-bracing provided on the back of a step-ladder for climbing, according to safety standards, protocols, and international best practices. The cross-bracing offers support and stability to the step ladder. Using it is extremely dangerous unless they built the ladder with climbing steps on both the front and back parts. Working on and around stairwells and ladders can be hazardous. They are common causes of construction worker accidents and deaths. 

What Is A Step Ladder?

A step ladder is a self-supporting, compact ladder with flat steps and a hinged back that is not adjustable in length. The total length of the ladder, measured along the side rails’ front edge, determines its height. 

The Usefulness Of A Step-Ladder?

Step ladders are one of the most widely used pieces of construction equipment, especially for jobs that require a lot of height and climbing. They are convenient, easy to use, adaptable, functional, and reliable. They are used for a variety of tasks but must maintain caution. Many workers have been killed or injured at job sites due to carelessness and improper use of step ladders. The step ladder’s rear bracing adds support and protects it from damage in the event of a fall. If you don’t use the ladder right, you’re putting your life and the lives of your coworkers in danger. 

What Are The Materials To Make A Step Ladder? 

Step ladders made from metal, wood, reinforced plastic, and fiberglass. The most widely used product is aluminum. It is safe a wood or fiberglass ladder instead of a metal ladder while working on or near exposed electrical components. Consult the ladder’s warning labels or the manufacturer’s instructions since sure nonmetal ladders reinforced with steel or other conductive materials. 

Step Ladders Are Chosen Based On The Following Criteria: 

1. The ladder’s intended use 

2. The job and work with the ladder are specific. 

3. The ladder’s user 

4. The surrounding climate includes uneven/unstable terrain, slick conditions, clearance, and so on. 

5. Job surface height to be achieved 

6. Weight put on the ladder

7. Place of the worker concerning the job 

8. Requirements for the duration, duty rank, and overlapped length are also part of the regulations. 

How To Safely Ascend And Operate On Step Ladders 

1. Climbing and working on ladders requires keeping the body near the centre of the step or rung to keep the load on the ladder balanced. 

2. Make sure you don’t go too far away from the middle. You must descend and reposition the ladder to prevent overreaching. 

3. When working with the body in the middle of a step or rung is impossible, secure the ladder at the top and use a personal fall safety device. 

4. Always keep your back to the ladder and maintain three-point communication with it. Two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot, are in contact with the ladder at three stages, securely supporting the user’s weight. 

5. It would be best if you do not use ladders for transporting machinery or products. When working on a ladder, have co-workers hand up tools and supplies instead of holding them. 

6. Ensure you’re not standing on the top three rungs of a single or extension ladder when operating. If you must work from the top three rungs, make sure some systems provide a firm grip or that you use a personal fall safety device. 

7. On a step ladder, do not stand on the top cap or the step below the top cap. 

8. For ascending, do not use cross-bracing on the back portion of step ladders. 

9. Ensure ladders not moved, transferred, or extended when in operation unless the manufacturer has given permission. 

10. For proper use, always obey the manufacturer’s instructions. 

11. Often use licensed portable ladders that are the correct length and form for the job (and are designed in compliance with regulations and standards). When operating on or near energized electrical conductors or systems, avoid using metal, wet wooden, or fiberglass ladder. Wet ladders become conductive to electrical current and pose a slipping and falling threat. 

Step Ladder Maintenance 

1. Keep in good condition all ladders and accessories, in particular safety shoes. 

2. Remove damaged ladders from repair or destruction service immediately. 

3. To protect against weather damage, process all wood ladders that are to used outside. It is crucial to have a clear finish or transparent penetration condom. Do not always paint a ladder of wood. 

4. Never store ladder materials. 

5. Store wood ladders where excessive heat or dampness is not exposed. Store fiberglass ladders where sunlight or other ultraviolet light sources are not exposed. 

6. Make sure ladders are supported and secured correctly when in transit. They might be damaged by vibration and bumping on other objects. 

7. Store ladders on racks to support them properly if not in operation. 

8. Cords should be in good condition on extension ladders. Substitute them if they get frayed or worn badly. 

9. NOT use break-down ladders, rungs, cleats, safety feet, lateral rails or other defects. 

10. Keep the ladders free of oil, fat, or slippery materials through frequent purification. To protect them against weathering, store all ladders. 

11. Using defective or damaged ladders 

12. Use of the ladders not suitable for the task 

13. On a ladder, hand carries loads or equipment 

14. Get to the point of losing your balance 

15. Stand or work on the top of the cap or step under the top of the steps 

16. Top 3 of the extending ladder stand or work 

17. On boxes, barrels, collection trucks or scaffolds or appliances, place ladders 

18. Use mobile ladders as a board, platform or scaffold in the horizontal position. 

19. Split short ladders together to produce longer ladders 

20. Use only one rail ladders 

21. Use high-wind ladders 

22. Without minimum overlap, use extension staves 

23. Use of ladder which does not comply with the requirements 

24. Substitute all ropes frayed or badly worn 

25. Do not climb a ladder from the side unless you secure the ladder from a lateral move or rise from one ladder to another. 

26. Do not overreach; if necessary, move the ladder. 

27. Do not use a stepper in a folding and leaning position as a straight ladder. 

28. Wear suitable footwear always with good climbing tread. 

29. Please do not stand on the top two steps of the ladder until they stand. 

30. Check for people on or below the ladder. 

31. Stay focused on the centre of the ladder. 

32. Don’t lean on the ladder to reach items. 

33. Get somebody to help you with your ladder work. 

34. No heavy items should be lifted or carried when climbing the ladder or down. 

35. For electrical work, use a ladder made of non-conductive material. 

36. Do not support work platforms using steps. 

Inspection Of Ladder

Before each use, a qualified person must inspect the loaders for visible defects. A ladder can undergo conditions that can affect its integrity during use. There is no safe use of a ladder with compromised integrity. 

1. Employees should perform general ladder safety inspections for all types of portable ladders by checking: 

2. No damage, structural integrity, components lacking or lose parts should occur to the loaders 

3. Ladders damaged or worn must be destroyed. 

4. The steps or rungs must be close to the side rails and secure. 

5. You must ensure that equipment and fittings are attached correctly and securely.  

6. All labels are to be readable and intact. 

7. Oil, grass, or slippery materials shall be free from ladders.  

8. Like leg rackers, paint racks, standing racks, etc., all accessories are in good condition. 

9. You must place the base of the ladder on a safe and level floor. Ladder levelers shall be used to achieve the same support of the rail on uneven surfaces if necessary. 

10. The base of the ladder must be slip-resistant. 

11. You must make sure that clothes and jugs are in good condition during the inspection of extension ladders. 

12. Lock correctly. 

13. Rung locks are on the top section rails to prevent falling off the top section. 

14. Built-in and safe extension guide brackets 

Safety Measures To Be Taken Before Climbing A Step-Ladder 

1. Step-ladders must be positioned on primary level ground to ensure proper alignment and stability. 

2. Ensure that you use the ladder according to the manufacturer’s directions for use. It is very risky to ignore those directions. 

3. Avoid using a substandard and locally-fabricated ladder. You can be sure it is made from inferior materials and might not pass the quality control test. 

4. Make sure all four feet of the ladder are on a firm, dry, level surface. 

5. Be sure to clear the ground area around the ladder before climbing. 

6. You must use the ladder carefully for any cracks or loose pieces. If there is any, fix them immediately. It is dangerous to ignore those faults 

7. Endeavour to use step-ladders only in a fully open position where there are free spaces around the site 

8. Never leave side braces and the cross braces open before climbing because it will affect the ladder’s stability and cause a fall or injury. 

9. Always wear appropriate footwear with good sole and tread before climbing on a step-ladder. 

10. It is advisable to go with the appropriate ladder according to the job details. Do not go to a worksite with a step-ladder instead of a straight ladder. 

Step Ladder Accident Statistics

Accidents involving step-ladders are common. The most common type of worker injury associated with ladder use is a fall. Accidents involving step ladders can result in disabling injuries and even death. The following figures and real-life examples illustrate the seriousness of ladder-related accidents: 

1. Each year, about 50 construction workers are killed by falls from ladders, according to the Centre to Protect Workers’ Rights. People operating from ladders account for more than half of all fatalities. When stepping down ladders, more people fall than when climbing them. Sliding off the ladder base and falling sideways are the most common causes of falls from step ladders. Many workers have back problems as a result of holding ladders. 

2. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, ladders were responsible for 20% of fatal falls in 2009. 

3. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, ladders trigger more than 164,000 emergency room visits in the United States each year. 

The causes of ladder accidents are usually: 

1. Poor workers training in ladder security 

2. The ladder is in a poor state 

3. Inadequate selection, care or use, including wrong placement 

4. Use of unsafe practices 

5. Utilization of the incorrect ladder for the particular work 

 How To Prevent Step Ladder Accidents 

1. Get assistance if necessary. Don’t try to do it by themselves unless you can safely do it alone. 

2. Only use a ladder for the proper purpose. 

3. Read all labels/marks on the ladder and follow them. 

4. Do not use a ladder when under alcohol, medicines or health conditions. 

5. If you get sick, dizzy or panicky while on a ladder, do not try to climb down in a hurry. Hold on. Drape your arms around the rungs and rest your head against the ladder until you feel better. Then slowly and attentively climb down. 

6. It should only take one person on a ladder at a time unless the ladder can hold more than one person at a time (e.g., double-sided or mechanics ladders). 

7. Do not use a ladder on a platform scaffold. The scaffold should be higher if you need to go up. 

8. Do not use step ladders in one or partly closed locations as single ladders. 

9. Ensure that every lock is mounted correctly on an extended ladder.  

10. Always open a step-ladder entirely and make sure the spreader is locked open before using the ladder. 

11. Never slide down a ladder. 

12. Never climb onto a ladder from the side, from above the top or from one ladder to another. 

13. Do not straddle the front and back of a step-ladder. 

14. Ladders shall not be used in a horizontal position as platforms, runways, or scaffolds unless designed for such use. 

15. Do not use ladders as a brace, skid, guy or gin pole, gangway, or for uses other than intended. 

16. Do not use painted wooden ladders.  

17. Never tie or fasten ladders together to gain additional length/height. 

18. Avoid overhead electrical hazards. Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder. Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines. 

19. Never use metal ladders around exposed electrical wiring. Metal ladders should be marked with tags or stickers reading “CAUTION-Do Not Use Around Electrical Equipment” or similar wording.  

20. Wear shoes with slip-resistant soles. 

21. Clean your shoes and rungs before going to the ladder with clean mud and other slippery substances. 

22. When moving an extension ladder, always retract the “fly” section(s). 

23. When carrying an extension ladder, keep the bottom section lower than the top. Use a ladder dolly to help you have heavy ladders.

Related Questions And Answers For Further Understanding;  

1. What Is 3-Point Contact On Ladder Safety? 

Always maintain three contact points to use ladders safely. Two hands, a foot, or two-foot, and a hand always on the ladder. Before stepping on a ladder, put both hands firmly on the rungs. You only have three-point contacts when you reach land or a stable platform. 

2. Can You Sit On A Step Ladder Top?  

Never sit or stand on the top step of the ladder, whatever tempting it is. Indeed, ladder manufacturers and emergency physicians never recommend the third-highest grade. Just climb up the ladder front, never the back. Don’t allow a step-ladder for more than one person at a time. 

3. Why Can You Not Stand On A Ladder’s Top Step?  

Don’t stand on the top of the ladder or step of the step. It will make the ladder very volatile and likely to be overturned! Do not move or move the ladder while an individual or equipment is on the ladder. It can cause the falling and severe injuries of materials or people. 

4. What Should You Not Do On A Ladder? 

Do not tilt the ladder sideways or slide out the ladder base. Carry tools in a tool belt or use a hand line to raise tools. Do not take tools in your hands as you climb a ladder up/down. Extend 3 feet over the top of the ladder. 

5. Which Rungs Of A Step Ladder Are Not Safe To Stand? 

Do not stand on a straight, one or extension ladder’s three top rungs. The correct angle to set the ladder is to place its base from the wall or other vertical surface a quarter of the working length of the ladder  

6. What Is The 1 In 4 Rules For Ladders? 

Recall the four-to-one rule when placing your ladder: move the base a foot away from the wall for each four-foot-high. This tip comes from this Old House with several other safety tips on the ladder. 

7. How Should Ladders Be Stored?

Ladders should be stored horizontally on racks with an adequate number of support points. It would help if you did not keep adders that should not be stored near heat sources or dampness or in the sunlight or any other condition that may damage the ladder. 

8. What Are The Types Of Ladders? 

Ladders Come In A Range Of Styles To Suit The Different Jobs To Be Used For:

1. Single Pole Ladders (maximum length 9 meters)
2. Extension Ladders (total length 15 meters)
3. Step Ladders (maximum height of 6.1 meters)
4. Dual Purpose Ladders (step-ladder hinged to provide an extension)
5. Platform (podium) Ladders.

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