In my safety presentation I use a lot of pictures of people doing crazy things on their ladders. Often people in my classes send me pictures of ladder misuse that they have on their computers. So far this year, I have received some crazy ones. I’m going to try and put them in categories so they will fit with the safety message but some of them are beyond comment.
When choosing the right ladder for the job I always tell people that choosing to go get a ladder is the first choice you have to make.
I know that it’s easier to just climb up on a chair or bar stool but that’s not what they were designed for. A lot of fall related accidents happen because people didn’t use a ladder.
There are 4 categories in choosing the right ladder for the job.
Always maintain three points of contact as you climb up and down a ladder. Face the ladder and keep the center of your body (belt buckle) between the side rails.
I’m not sure if I should be more concerned about where he is standing or that he is using duct tape to fix an airplane.
I have no idea how the guy on top climbed from the ladder to where he is.
Creativity is the enemy of safety. When our engineers get creative, they have to build several ladders and run lots of tests to make sure it will be safe for you. When you get creative, the first time it gets tested is when you try it. Here some examples of what I’m talking about.
Remember ladders are safety equipment. Don’t get creative. Follow the simple guidelines. Pick the right ladder, set it up properly and climb it cautiously.
Climb Safe and Climb On
Protect it from the Elements
When your ladder isn’t being used, keep it inside, away from the sun, rain and snow. Keeping your ladder away from extremes in temperature can make it last longer. Fiberglass, for example, wears much more quickly when left in the sun than it does when in a garage or other building.
Keep it Clean
For safety reasons, you always want to wipe off anything that is slippery or sticky when it gets on the ladder. In addition to the obvious safety benefit, protecting your ladder from any substances will help it last longer.
Choose the Right Material
If you want your ladder to last a long time, the best material is aluminum. Obviously, aluminum does not work for every industry, but, as we mentioned earlier, there are great ways to make the fiberglass last longer. If you will be working outside a lot, while not working with electricity, aluminum may be your best option.
Hopefully these few tips will help your ladders last a little longer.
Just last week, there was another ladder accident, this one in England.
A self-employed builder was stepping off the ladder onto a house he was working on when the ladder slipped out from under him, causing him to land on his back.
How to Prevent this type of Fall
Follow the Three Rung Rule
When a ladder is being used at the roof line, make sure the ladder extends three feet above the roof line. This will give the ladder a little more stability and help prevent slipping.
Use proper Equipment
Make sure you always the best equipment. The transition point between the ladder and the roof is where some of the worst ladder accidents take place, as is displayed in this news story. The Little Giant LedgeLock roof mount and walkthrough can help prevent these types of injuries when used with the Claw fastening system. The Walkthrough allows easy access to the roof while allowing the worker to maintain three points of contact at all times. With products like this, there is no reason to continue unsafe practices.
Hopefully we can learn from this sad story and remember to follow the precautions.