Broken Window Theory

Darkhorse 17 Stairs 8_1I just ran across this great article about the Broken Window Theory in regards to workplace safety.

This is my favorite quote from the article:

“Workplace safety is full of clichés such as ‘the standard you walk past is the standard you accept’, ‘never walk past a hazard’, ‘lead by example’.  Weaknesses and anomalies in these can always be identified but in many workplaces these clichés show a fresh approach to safety. This, in itself, is depressing as OHS laws have existed in most countries for over a generation now and safety is still not a normal part of work for many of us.”

The Broken Windows Theory is that if there is a neighborhood with one broken window that doesn’t get fixed, people will think nobody cares about the neighborhood and will break more and more windows. On the flip side, if the window is fixed right away, the other windows will stay in good shape.

As the other article talks about, this theory applies to ladder safety and workplace safety too. It is everyone’s job to help keep each other safe. If you see people being unsafe, let them know. If you see something unsafe at work, correct it to make it safe or tell someone who can fix it.

Like windows in a neighborhood, when people see another team member do something unsafe without being corrected, they are more likely to do the unsafe thing too, especially if it is faster and easier.

Let’s make a commitment to be safer and to help others be safer too and help the Broken Windows Theory to work in our favor for a safer work environment.

Safety Events Coming Up

IMG_3561Southern Oregon

I have some great news for those of you looking for a safety conference near you.

In October, there will be a conference in Ashland, Oregon. It will be Oct. 17-19 and will feature presentations on topics including fall protection and fire safety. The keynote speaker will be Kerry Barnett, president and CEO of SAIF Corportion.

The Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and Oregon OSHA are co-sponsoring the conference. You can register for this conference by clicking here. For more information, visit their website.

Little Giant is also holding ladder safety events around the country. Here are some of the details of our upcoming events.


Little Giant is holding a ladder safety event in Seattle on November 8th. Attendees will have the opportunity to earn a ladder safety training certification. For more details, visit Little Giant’s website.


Little Giant is holding a ladder safety event in Portland on November 9th. Attendees at this event will also have the opportunity to earn a ladder safety training certification. For more details, visit Little Giant’s website.

Dallas & Houston

There will also be training events in Dallas and Houston, but some of the details are still getting finalized for those.

Is there a training event in your area? Will you be attending?

Fall Projects

autumn-smilingNow is the time of year that a lot of people get outside and try to finish up a few projects before winter hits. With these fall projects come people using their ladders. With that in mind, here are a couple of tips to help you be safe this fall:

1. Always let someone know you will be using a ladder and, if possible, have someone outside with you.

2. Use a tool belt to help you keep three points of contact.

3. Use the right ladder for the job. If you are trimming trees, use a stepladder. If you are cleaning gutters, use an extension ladder.

4. Be aware of muscle fatigue and take a break if you need to.

5. Always inspect the ladder before you use it.

6. If working on the roof, extend the ladder three feet above the roof line.


Man in Australia dies in Ladder Accident

The man was doing some renovation work near the edge of a mezzanine floor when he fell from his ladder.

The  Executive Director Health and Safety in Melbourne said, “It is a devastating reality that another family has lost a loved one due to an incident at work.”

We couldn’t agree more. It can get a little depressing seeing all these stories about ladder accidents and deaths and injuries, but it is important to remember these people and learn from mistakes.

In this case, make sure your ladder is level and is leaning against a sturdy surface. Also, make sure the ladder is at the correct angle. Always check the ladder feat to make sure they are in good condition and don’t have anything that would affect the grip.

Guest Post: A Ladder Safety Checklist

Today we have a guest post from Tom Trainor,  the founder of,  a height equipment company  based in Melbourne, Australia. Here’s his post about ladder inspection:

When it comes to working at heights, it’s important to have the right height safety equipment, including ladders, in order to do the job well and safely. However, as with any other equipment, time can take its toll, and that’s why it’s crucial to do regular safety inspections to make sure your equipment is in great working condition.

Here are a few tips for your next inspection:

Check slip-resistant pads/ladder Feet

Before attempting to step on a single ladder step, you need to ensure that the slip-resistant pads are present and in excellent condition – free of any tears or damage which may be caused by regular usage. If not, you could end up slipping and falling, possibly ending up with serious, preventable injuries caused by negligence.

Find possible cracks

Regular ladder safety inspections should include checking for any cracks to the frame. Overuse, transportation and hard-handling methods could all lead to minor cracks, leading to serious problems when working at heights.

Locate signs of corrosion

Corrosion often occurs in areas with an abundance of moisture in the air, such as coastal towns. Having said that, keep a close eye on any signs of corrosion which could cause the ladder structure to become weaker than usual.

Check locks and braces

The last thing you want when working at heights is to slip and fall simply because your equipment failed. Thus, before setting up, check that all locks and braces are working as they should in order to avoid an accident in the middle of a job.

Assess the ladder type

You can’t expect to do heavy-duty work with a domestic ladder, which is why it’s important to get the correct ladder for the job. Class I ladder are used for heavy-duty tasks, Class EN131 can be used for everyday work, and Class III is meant for domestic use.

Check for surrounding hazards

Do you notice any oil spills which may cause the ladder to slip? Also, make sure the ground is firm and level. Sandy and uneven ground is not the right place to put your ladder. Be sure to check for surrounding hazards before climbing any ladder.

A suitable leaning surface

Apart from having a strong and reliable ladder, you also need to ensure that the surface the ladder is leaning on is strong enough to withstand the force. If not, you may end up on the ground with a perfectly fine ladder.

Inspect the locking mechanism.

If you’re using a stepladder, you need to ensure that the locking mechanism is in an excellent working condition to keep the ladder from folding while you are on it. Does it lock in place as it should? Or is the lock loose or broken?

Remember three points of contact

When using any type of ladder, always have both hands and one foot or both feet and one hand on the ladder at all times. Losing your balance can happen in an instant, so having three points of contact could potentially save your life.
Ensuring your ladder is in excellent working condition before using it may save you from a nasty fall and unnecessary injuries as well as OSHA issues. By conducting regular safety inspections on height safety equipment and ladders, you’re able to enjoy peace of mind knowing you and your employees will be safe. Remember, prevention is more cost-effective than trying to fix a mistake.

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