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OSHA Safe & Sound Week

This week is OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week.

OSHA designed Safe + Sound Week to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs, including management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.

Participate
Successful safety and health programs can help manage workplace hazards before they cause a problem. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help energize your safety program. Organizations of any size are invited to participate.

Participation Ideas
To participate, choose the activities for your workplace. After completing the events, download a certificate and web badge to recognize your organization and your workers.

For more information or ideas on how to participate, visit OSHA’s website.

Ladder Safety Tips from the USDOL

The US Department of Labor has lots of great ladder safety tips on its website. Here are a couple of tips from the site:

Angle

  • Non-self-supporting ladders, extension ladders or other ladders that must lean against a wall or other support, are to be positioned so the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about 14 the working length of the ladder.
  • For job-made wooden ladders, that angle should equal about 18 the working length to minimize the strain of the load on ladder joints that may not be as strong as on commercially manufactured ladders.

Rungs

  • Ladder rungs, cleats, or steps must be parallel, level, and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use. Rungs must be spaced between 10″-14″ inches apart.
  • For extension trestle ladders, the spacing must be 8″-18″ inches for the base, and 6″-12″ inches on the extension section.
  • Rungs must be skid-resistant and so shaped so feet cannot slide off

Slipping

  • Keep laddrs free of oil, grease, wet paint, and other slipping hazards.
  • Wood ladders must not be coated with any opaque covering, except identification or warning labels on one  side rail.

Other Requirements

  • Foldout or stepladders must have a metal spreader or locking device to hold the front and back sections in an open position when in use.
  • When two or more ladders are used to reach a work area, they must be offset with a landing or platform between the ladders.
  • The area around the top and bottom of ladder must be kept clear.
  • Ladders must not be tied or fastened together to provide longer sections, unless they are specifically designed for such use.
  • Never use a ladder for any purpose other than the one for which it was designed

How a positive health and safety culture can be great for business

Today, we have a guest post from James Hughes.  He is a freelance HR consultant and writer. After working for several high profile businesses in the city, James is now supporting businesses through difficult times as an independent consultant. James now works mainly in the industrial sector, with a focus on improving health and safety as a catalyst for internal change.

Some workplaces are undoubtedly more dangerous than others. Working with heavy machinery can make a job more risky, as can working at heights. However, despite this, health and safety is a concern no matter what industry you are from. What is more, taking a proactive approach to the health and safety culture in your workplace can actually make sound business sense, and benefit your company in numerous ways. Below are a few ways in which a positive health and safety culture can be great for business.

What’s good for your employees is good for you

Workers who do not feel safe are not productive. Therefore, it makes good economic sense to promote a positive health and safety culture, aside from the obvious ethical concerns. For example, if your business involves your workers working at heights, e.g. climbing ladders, you need to have policies and procedures in place to protect your workers, as otherwise your employees will not feel safe in their work and will not be able to perform the tasks your business needs.  This lack of safety could then lead to stress, for example, which may then lead to lost work days, lower productivity, and even your workers leaving the company due to a lack of trust that your company is looking after their needs. It is clear then that a positive health and safety culture will lead to happier, more productive workers.

Health and safety = healthy profit margins

Probably the most important thing for any business is its profit margins. However, behind your profits are a bunch of other concerns that need to be taken care of. One of the most important is health and safety, and a positive health and safety culture can have a huge impact on your profits.  There are multiple ways in which this may be the case. For example;

  • If there are not consistent accidents, your workers will not have to take days off to recuperate.
  • Your workers will have fewer sick days.
  • The word will spread, and the best workers will want to work for your company, as they know you will look after them.
  • Your business will gain more consumer confidence due to increased positive publicity and word of mouth.
  • You will not incur the same legal costs as businesses who don’t look after their staff.

So, though it may initially seem that a positive health and safety culture is an additional cost to your business, in fact it will save you money in the long run and even increase the profitability of your company.

“Directors must have an understanding of the role safety performance plays in the performance of their business. In accepting corporate responsibility for health and safety, directors need to be proactive in developing a positive safety culture for their workplace. In the long-term this leads to an internal cultural shift that can have an indirect impact on external brand affinity and brand loyalty.” according to David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Effective Software

 

Grow your brand and consumer confidence

If you look after your workers, and you ensure that your company does what it should for its employees, the word will spread. This can only benefit your brand, and consumer confidence and shareholder satisfaction can only grow. We all know how much of an impact an accident, particularly a very serious one, can have on your brand, and being proactive can minimize this. Therefore, if you practice a positive health and safety culture, your brand will gain a reputation for ethical practice. Health and safety authorities agree that a stringent health and safety culture is good for business.

The importance of ladder safety

Ladders may be an indispensable tool for your business. However, they can be dangerous: ladders are one of the leading causes of falling accidents in the USA. As with any potentially dangerous piece of equipment, you need to pay particular attention to health and safety issues around them. Some things to check for include: that they are in a good state of repair; that your employees are trained effectively in their use; and that the rungs and feet are in good order, as these can be a cause of accidents.

So, if you ensure that your health and safety policies and procedures are up to scratch in your business, it will surely pay you back threefold.

Ladder Accident in Texas

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News ran an article last year about a ladder accident.

A Texan cable installer was using a ladder to work on some overhead lines. He and his colleague used a silicone-based product  to waterproof the cable splices, but the product left residue on the gloves and the ladder rungs. As the worker descended the ladder, he slipped on the slick rungs and fell more than 13 feet. He hit his head on the concrete and suffered a fatal injury.

The ISHN article then shares three simple tips for preventing ladder accidents like these.

  • Plan ahead to get the job done safely.
  • Provide the right ladder for the job with proper load capacity.
  • Train workers to use ladders safely.

Take the time and effort to learn OSHA’s ladder regulations. Then, train workers on how to be safe. Deaths from ladder falls can be prevented through proper training and proper use.

Fall Protection Webinar

Looking for a great Webinar? Occupational Health & Safety has a fall protection coming up on August 8th.

Thomas Kramer, the principal of LJB Inc, will be speaking about creating a state of the art fall protection program. LJB Inc is an engineering company offering services in architecture, engineering, environmental sciences, planning and surveying.

Here is Mr. Kramer’s bio from Occupational Health & Safety‘s website

Mr. Kramer is a safety consultant and structural engineer with more than 20 years of experience. As a dually registered professional engineer and certified safety professional, he has spent much of his career consulting with clients to reduce risk for workers at heights.  He specializes in the assessment and design of fall protection systems, as well as fall protection program development.  He is widely considered as a thought leader in the fall protection industry, having given more than 100 technical sessions and workshops on the topic. He serves as the vice chair of the ANSI Z359 fall protection committee and is the current president of the International Society for Fall Protection. For his contributions to the safety profession, he received the 2017 Thomas F. Bresnahan Standards Medal for fall protection standards development.

MSA – The Safety Company, RedVector and Safety Products Group are sponsoring the webinar.

To register for the webinar, follow this link.

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