Safety on Aluminum Ladders

We often talk about ladder safety for a specific style of ladders or for specific situations. Instead, today we will focus on ladder safety with a specific ladder material, aluminum.

Regular ladder safety tips apply to aluminum ladders. Maintain three points of contact. Don’t lean or overreach.

As far as the ladder material goes, the most important safety tip is to stay away from any sort of power lines or electrical wiring. If you think there’s any chance you will be working near electricity, choose a fiberglass ladder instead of aluminum.

Another safety tip when working with aluminum is to be aware of the temperature. When it is too hot outside, the aluminum will be extremely hot to touch. The same goes for when it is cold. The aluminum will be cold, like the temperature. Since aluminum takes on the temperature of its surroundings, be careful and use protection when working in extreme temperatures.

Employer Punished for Ladder Accident

In England, an employer was jailed for a death that happened on his job site. The employer had a 17 year old working for him. The teen was on a 22 foot ladder without safety equipment  when he fell, suffering fatal injuries. Instead of using scaffolding for jobs, the employer used teens to do the dangerous work.

The employer had a record of disregard for his workers’ safety. During his trial, numerous young adults testified on the dangers they faced while on the job. Even when there were incidents, he did not make changes. Instead, he got mad and yelled at his employees.

In his decision, the judge said, “You exposed Beau to the very obvious risk of death by requiring him to carry out that work from a ladder. Your attitude throughout was arrogant, cavalier and utterly reckless.”

The employer was punished with five years in prison for negligent homicide.

This story is truly sad because the accident only happened because the employer chose not to invest in quality equipment. It was more important for him to get the job done quickly and cheaply than it was for him to get the job done safely. Let this story be a reminder to all of us of the importance of teaching our team members the importance of being safe. Every life is important!


Fail Friday

He should have used a ladder. FB_IMG_1482560317978

Painting Projects and Ladder Safety

A lot of the fail photos we see is are of painters doing all sorts of acrobatics to “get the job done.” So, in honor of helping painters be safer on their ladders, I wanted to write a blog post giving painters some ladder safety tips.

Practice Safety Protocol

Don’t stand on the top rung or top cap. Use a taller ladder when you need one. Never lean while on the ladder. Instead, get off the ladder and move it closer to where you are working. Another common thing we see is people straddling the top of the ladder. This should go without saying, but straddling the ladder is not safe and should never be done.

Take Advantage of Accessories

I’m always seeing different companies with accessories to help painters work more quickly and safely. One accessory is the Airdeck from Little Giant. The Airdeck connects to the ladder and acts as a utility with slots for tools and paint containers. It also is a handrail for extra stability. Another accessory is currently available in the UK. It is called the Betsy Paint Mate. The paint mate is a kind of tray that with a belt that wraps around the operator’s waist. The Paint Mate holds a small paint container and a paint brush.

OSHA’s Most Dangerous Industries

OSHA released an OSHA “Hit List” with 100 of the hazardous industries.

Top-100-OSHA-Hit- List

Some of the top dangerous industries include: agriculture, forestries & fisheries, mining, contract construction, manufacturing, transportation commmunication & public utilities, business services, professional services, state government and local government all rank.

Then, the Hit List breaks down the industries even more to the types of jobs in those industries that are the most dangerous. For example, in the agriculture industry, the one of the most dangerous jobs is landscape and horticulture. What does this have to do with ladder safety? The reasons the industries are included as most dangerous are not listed, but looking at the list, you can see which industries are likely to use ladders.

Industries Using Ladders

Let’s choose just a couple of industries from the categories. We’ll talk briefly about each industry, how they use ladders, and how they can be safer.

The first industry is landscape and horticulture. Horticulturists use ladders to prune the plants. For landscaping and horticulturists, it is important to use the right ladder and to make sure the ground is level.

Plumbing fixtures and heating equipment is the next industry. These guys use ladders mainly for installation. They also need to make sure they use the right size ladder and don’t stand on the top rung or top cap while they are installing pipes.

General industrial machinery and equipment is a tricky industry because it applies to lots of different jobs. Some of the most common mistakes in this industry are standing on the top cap/using the wrong size ladder and over-reaching.

Electric lighting and wiring runs into similar problems as plumbing and heating. One of the main things for workers in this industry to remember is to always use a fiberglass ladder. Workers also need to use the right size ladder for the job.

Warehousing is another industry that uses ladders a lot for a variety of tasks. It is important to use the right size ladder and to never stand on the top rung or top cap.

Hotels use ladders for a variety of services and jobs. This means they need different types of ladders and different sized ladders, depending on the type of work the ladder is being used for. This also means there are quite a few mistakes that can be made.

Merchandising is another industry that uses ladders for a lot of different tasks. The most important tip for those who work in merchandising is to use the right size ladder for the job and to never stand on the top rung or top cap.

The Automotive Repair Services industry uses ladders sometimes to help get work done on taller vehicles. Ladders might also be used when doing restoration or other body work. The key is to use the right ladder for the job and to never lean.

Construction workers use ladders all the time for a variety of jobs. We have quite a few posts with tips for how construction workers can be safer on the job. As far as building construction, both residential and commercial, ladders are used for almost every step of the building process. Similar to some of the other industries we’ve talked about, it is important for construction workers to use the right ladder for the job, including the right size, and to never lean or stand on the top rung or top cap.

Make sure to check out the OSHA’s hit list. If you work in one of the listed industries, take some time to evaluate how you and your team members can work more safely.



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