When Inspecting Brick Chimneys, Remember Ladder Safety

After this past Chicago winter, with all the snow and ice we experienced it’s important to inspect brick and masonry. Brick chimneys, parapet walls and roofs can be damaged by snow and ice.  When high areas are involved its important to inspect brick safely. Every day, nearly 2,000 people are injured while using a ladder, and as many as 100 of them will suffer a long-term disability.

Please read  these important ladder safety tips before you get on a ladder to inspect.

Select the Right Ladder to Inspect Brick Safely

Safety begins with the right ladder. Make sure the weight, level of usage and duty rating is meets the demands of the job. Type IAA, IA and I are the only acceptable ladders on a construction jobsite.  If working near electricity, use a fiberglass ladder with non-conductive side rails.  Metal ladders and wood ladders with metal reinforcement can conduct electricity. If the ladder is not he right length you might have to overreach  to get the job done. That’s how accidents happen. When calculating the length, consider that an extension ladder consists of two overlapping sections, so a 16-foot ladder will actually have a maximum reach of 15-feet. OSHA requires that an extension ladder extend three feet over the roof or other working surface.

 Prepare for the Climb

1. Check the Ladder

Before you start climbing, check aluminum ladders for sharp edges, dents, or bent steps, feet, rails, loose rivets or corrosion. Watch for cracks, chips and missing components on fiberglass ladders. Check the lanyard for signs of wear and fraying.  Inspect the rungs, steps and foot friction pads for wear, missing parts or slippery substances. OSHA requires that defective ladders be immediately marked as defective and withdrawn from use until they are repaired.

2. Check the Site Conditions

Locate overhead wires. Be sure the distance to the nearest overhead line is twice the length of the ladder. If it’s windy, raining or a chance of lightning, don’t climb a ladder. If you need to position a ladder in front of a door or other location where it could be accidentally dislodged, be sure to lock the door, blockade it or assign someone to block it. Be sure to check that the ground underneath the ladder is level and firm. Use large flat wooden boards under the ladder as a level on soft or uneven ground.

3. Prepare Yourself
Wear non-skid footwear and dr your shoes before climbing. Carry tools in pockets, in a bag attached to a belt, or raise and lower them by rope.

Above all, stay safe. And if it turns out you do help with your brick and masonry maintenance please give us a call.



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John Gallagher

John Gallagher learned the craft of tuckpointing while in his late teens. His father, a first generation Irish immigrant and construction worker, encouraged his son’s entrepreneurial spirit. John earned a business degree from Loras College, and soon afterward he founded Shamrock Tuckpointing.

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