Fiberglass ladders are commonly used ladders since they are sturdy and can be used around electricity. While these ladders are common, it is still important to remind our teams of a couple of safety precautions specific to fiberglass.
Remind your team to always inspect the ladders, whether fiberglass or aluminum, to ensure they are still in working order. If you use fiberglass ladders on your job site, make sure to train your team how to tell when a fiberglass ladder needs to be retired. Train your team to check for cracks, bends or other damage. If the ladder is worn, make sure to remind your team to take it from service and mark it as unusable.
Make sure they check the fiberglass and make sure it is still in good shape. A lot of times, fiberglass ladders are carried on the top of a vehicle and the sun beats down on the ladder. After time, the sun causes the fiberglass to become worn and bleached. While lighter colored fiberglass isn’t necessarily something to worry about, once the glass fibers begin shedding it is time for a new ladder.
Caring for Your Fiberglass Ladders
For the most part, fiberglass is cared for the same way other ladders are. The main difference with fiberglass ladders is protecting the fiberglass from getting
Fiberglass in good condition
too bleached and aged. One way to slow down the process is to keep the ladder from the sun. Instead of keeping the ladder on the work truck, for example, you could see if there is any room inside the vehicle. If your team has no option except to have the ladder go on the top of the vehicle, just keep an eye on it (and train your team to do the same) to prevent anyone from using a worn out ladder.
We want to help you get your team home safe at night. We hope you and your team will find these tips for using fiberglass ladders helpful.
The holiday season is on its way. We are all looking forward to memorable times with family and friends, sitting around the fire and opening presents or eating turkey. For many, the holidays also mean putting on decorations, and putting up decorations means climbing a ladder.
Holiday Accidents Happen
Each year, the number of accidents increases around the holidays. In fact, according to acting chairman of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Robert Adler, “There are about 250 injuries a day during the holiday season. Adding safety to your checklist can keep a holiday tradition from becoming a holiday tragedy. Keep Christmas trees watered well, don’t leave candles unattended and use caution whenever you are on a ladder.”
We can all be a little more diligent to prevent injuries this year. Here is a great article from the CPSC that goes over some DOs and DON’Ts to help you make it through the season accident free. This holiday safety information is helpful for anyone. Feel free to use it for you and your family. You may also find it helpful to train your team to help them stay safe this holiday season
When training your team on stepladder safety, remember to train them on proper stepladder use. Here are just a couple of reminders:
Training your Team on Proper Inspection
What should they be looking for? Workers should make sure to check all parts of the ladder. Remind them to make sure the ladder feet are in good shape, that the rails and rungs are not cracked or bent and that the spreader bars can lock in place. If any parts of the ladder aren’t in proper working order, it should be tagged and removed from service.
Before Using the Stepladder
While training your team, remind to make sure the ladder is on level ground before climbing. They should also make sure they have right size stepladder. A common problem with stepladders is the ladder being too short for the job, so, like the worker in this post, employees end up climbing on the top rung or leaning to reach. If the ladder is too short, or another type of ladder would do the job better, remind your team to switch for something better. Also, remember to double check the weight rating of the ladder to make sure the worker and equipment will not be too heavy.
While on the Stepladder
Remind your team not to stand on the top cap or on the spreader bars. As with climbing any ladder, remind them to make sure to maintain three points of contact and to remember the other safety guidelines of climbing a ladder. Looking for a complete list of guidelines? Here is a guide from OSHA with all of the guidelines.
While these training ideas may be review for you, a short training on stepladder safety could be the difference between sending all your men home safely or not.
Sometimes, we like to take a break and look at a photo or two to see what the people in the pictures should be doing differently. Let’s talk about this guy and what he could have done to make his job safer.
Use a taller ladder
Obviously, this guy needs a taller ladder for his job. He is standing on the top cap and leaning over to get to his project. He needs a ladder almost double the height of the one he is using.
Use the right ladder for the job
For this particular situation, a stepladder may not be the best choice. It is important to have the correct ladders on hand for jobs like this one. For this situation, a tall ladder in the 90-degree position would work well since it would allow him to reach the space he needs to get to.
There is a chance this guy has been trained on proper ladder use, but he is choosing not to use it. Do your best to make sure your team is trained and has the right tools on hand.
Hopefully we can all learn a little from this Fail Friday Photo Edition and be a little more diligent in getting people home safely each day. Have a great weekend!
I seem to run across quite a few stories and videos of people trimming trees while on ladders. Often, these stories and videos end with the person getting into some sort of terrible accident.
Most recently, I ran into an article where a 72 year old man was using a 22-foot ladder while trimming a large tree. According to the article, the Connecticut man fell from his ladder while using a chainsaw on a ladder. The news article also says he went to the hospital with life threatening injuries.
Trimming Trees while on a Ladder
So, what can we learn? If you and your team do any sort of landscaping, it is important for them to be trained on trimming trees properly. The number one thing to remember is to not lean your ladder against the tree you are trimming. You want to make sure your ladder is independent from the tree, making it less likely for a branch to come back and snap you. You also want to prevent the limb you are leaned against from falling. Believe it or not, I have actually seen this happen, like in this video. Instead of using an extension ladder, it may be safer to use a tall A-frame or other stepladder to help you reach the branches that need trimming.
The second thing you want to remember is to put the ladder in a place where you don’t have to lean too far to the right or to the left. So many times people will lean a little too far, resulting in them falling to the ground.
Just remember, almost all accidents are preventable through proper training and proper use.