Ladder Safety Month

100Ladder Safety Month is coming up fast, and I want to make sure I share ideas for you to get involved. Here are a couple of ideas to help you promote ladder safety during ladder safety month:

  • Host a ladder safety training event
  • Put up posters around your workplace
  • Include information about National Ladder Safety Month and your involvement in employee/customer newsletters and emails
  • Perform product inspections and dispose of bad ladders at work and at home
  • Encourage employees to earn their Ladder Safety Certificate and become a Safety Ambassador through ALI’s Ladder Safety Training website 
  • Contribute to the conversation on social media: #laddersafetymonth
  • Provide ladder safety information on digital monitors throughout your workspace
  • Issue a press release on how your company is participating in National Ladder Safety Month

For more information and ideas, make sure to visit LadderSafetyMonth.com.

Four Major Causes of Ladder Accidents

This is not ladder safety

This is an example of over-reaching

I had an article get published in Industrial Safety & Hygiene News about the four major causes of ladder accidents, and I decided I should share some of the article on here as well.

Here are the four main causes of ladder accidents:

1. Ladders are too heavy

In some service industries close to half of their ladder-related injuries are strains and sprains from handling a heavy ladder. Some workers are doing 8-12 visits a day with a 28-foot extension ladder that weighs more than 70 lbs. The solution to this problem is to use lighter ladders.

2. The wrong ladder for the job

Often, the right ladder is too heavy, so workers opt for the shorter, wrong ladder.

If I have the choice to carry a 4-foot stepladder or an 8-foot stepladder, I’ll probably carry the 4-footer and try to make it work by climbing on the top step or top cap of the ladder to get the job done. The main solution to this problem is to get a taller ladder. A secondary solution is to take out the top rung since it’s only purpose is to hold a sticker that tells the operator not to stand there.

3. Leveling a ladder

When faced with uneven ground, many people level their ladders with bricks and boards. Luckily, there is now a better solution. Some companies have built-in leveling devices integrated into the actual ladders. Some of Little Giant’s products with these integrated levelers include the Xtreme, Quantum and Revolution.

HyperLiteSumo M28 Climb24. Over-reaching

Improper leveling and over-reaching are the major causes of tip-and-fall accidents,  causing thousands of disabling injuries and hundreds of fatalities every year. Workers are trained to keep their bodies between the side rails of the ladder, but that doesn’t happen 100 percent of the time. Adding outriggers to the bottom of an extension ladder increases the ladder’s footprint and can prevent injuries. If the climber can’t get outside of the footprint of the ladder, the ladder won’t be able to tip over. The outrigger would also help level the ground.

In addition to training…

Workers can get training from OSHA or from the American Ladder Institute, but training alone isn’t enough. Since people continue to misuse ladders, the best way to prevent ladder accidents is by innovating safety through design.

Visiting Georgia Tech

This week, we went to Georgia Tech to have a kick-off event for Ladder Safety Month. I spoke at the Georgia Tech OSHA Education Center and gave them a ladder safety training. Here are a couple of photos from the training.

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Firefighter Ladder Safety

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Firefighters climb ladders every day. Not only do they climb adders, but they also have heavy tools and equipment to carry with them. Sometimes they use the ladders attached to their trucks, but other times they use a smaller ladder stored inside their truck. In either case, having the right ladder and using it safely will help prevent accidents.

It is important to have a ladder with the correct duty rating to hold the firefighter and all of the equipment. Ladders are tested to hold a certain amount of weight. If the maximum weight capacity is exceeded, the ladder could bend, crack or otherwise fail.

Firefighters also need to maintain three points of contact. When the firefighter is working to save lives, he or she won’t do any good if a ladder accident happens. It can be easy to lose balance, so it is crucial to always have two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet on the ladder.

Firefighters may be tempted to lean while on the ladder, but this is a risk as well. Always stay between the rails.

Stay safe out there!

Farmers and Ladder Safety

17452-a-farmer-harvesting-apples-in-an-orchard-in-california-pvI was doing some reading when I ran across an article about ladder safety for farmers. “Farmers don’t use ladders,” you say? Ladders don’t get used much for planting or harvesting crops (unless the farmer has an orchard), but farmers also have other important work.

Farmers have important maintenance work, often requiring ladders. The article I ran across was actually an academic paper in Horticulture Week. According to the article, the Health and Safety Executive, basically the OSHA Great Britain, is encouraging farmers to take precautions while performing building maintenance to prevent ladder accidents. In fact,the organization is taking it so seriously that it is including ladder use in its next batch of inspections.

So, how can these accidents be prevented?

Here are a couple tips for farmers:

  1. Maintain three points of contact
  2. Keep your body between the rails
  3. Set the ladder on firm, level ground
  4. Make sure the ladder (and feet!) are in good condition before using

The tips may seem familiar, but, the truth is, they apply to anyone climbing a ladder. Be safe on your ladder and prevent an accident from happening.

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