TAKE A STEP TOWARD STEP STOOL SAFETY
Step stools are generally self-supporting, foldable, portable, nonadjustable in length, 26 inches to the top step, 55 inches in overall height, with flat steps and without a pail shelf. They are designed to be climbed and stood on.
What to look for in a step stool
There are seemingly unlimited choices of step stools available. Selecting the step stool most appropriate for your facility will depend on several variables:
- The weight of the heaviest person who might use the step stool.
- The height of shortest person who might use the step stool.
- The highest height someone might need to try to reach in your facility.
The step stool you choose should have non-slip treaded steps and angled rubber leg tips for stability. Include multiple staff members in the selection of a new step stool to consider the variety of opinions and product design options. Make sure any stool selected is OSHA and/or ANSI approved.
Safety tips for using step stools
Implement these safety guidelines and train all employees on proper use:
- Place the step stool level on the ground, as near as possible to the object you are trying to reach.
- Make sure folding step stools are fully open / extended and locked into position.
- Brace yourself by putting a hand on a nearby wall when ascending and descending the step stool.
- Wear closed-toed shoes. Do not climb on a step stool in sandals, high heels, socks or bare feet.
- If you need to stretch or stand on your tippy toes while on a step stool, then you need to use a ladder instead.
- Never use step stools that need repair.
- Observe load limit capacity ratings – do not go over that weight limit.
- Do not lean over to reach for or pick up an item, as this can cause you to lose your balance and fall.
- Do not use when lifting or carrying a 5-gallon bucket; step stools can tip easily when your weight is shifted to a specific direction.
- If you feel dizzy or are prone to poor balance, ask for assistance.
Remind employees that if a step stool is not available, using a substandard replacement can be dangerous and should be not used:
- Do not use a chair (with or without wheels) if a step stool or ladder is not available; chairs can easily move and/or tip over.
- Do not use tables or desks either; they can tip easily when your weight is shifted to a specific direction.
- Do not use a milk crate or wooden crate; they can tip easily when your weight is shifted to a specific direction. (And they can break under weight.)
- Do not use shelving; shelves / shelving is designed for certain weight and can collapse when that weight is exceeded.
- Do not use pallets or any wood products; your foot can get caught or wood could break causing a collapse.
- Do not use bricks or cinder blocks; their smooth surface can cause the bricks or blocks to move when your weight is shifted to a specific direction.
- Do not use bags of product like cement, soil, seed, etc.