Climbing Safe: Everyone’s talking about it

climbing safe

Today I stumbled on another great article encouraging climbing safe when decorating for the holidays. The article was released back in September, but talks extensively on ladder safety and preventing injuries.

Climbing Safe Tips

With Christmas next week, most people have already decorated. But, for those who haven’t, here are a couple tips from the article you can use for yourself and your team.

The first tip for climbing safe is using proper climbing equipment. Make sure you use ladders when you need to instead of using furniture or other creative ways to reach a certain height. Use a ladder that is tall enough and is equipped to do the job the right way.

The second tip is to practice safe techniques. Make sure you are using your ladder on level ground or you are using leg levelers. Make sure your ladder is secure before climbing. Also, remember never to climb on the top rung of an A-frame or top three rungs of an extension ladder.

Remember, aluminum and electricity don’t mix. To prevent the risk of electrocution, make sure to use fiberglass ladders, which will not conduct electricity. As you know, if electricity comes in contact with aluminum, it is incredibly dangerous and possibly deadly.

The last tip given in the article is to “say no to alcohol and yes to sunlight.” For some reason, some people think it’s a good idea to climb a ladder after drinking alcohol. There is no reason to climb a ladder after drinking. Remember also to use the ladder in the daylight when it is easy to see.

These tips are just a review for you, but remind your team members, the ones who haven’t decorated yet for Christmas, make sure they get reminded. If you don’t have time to talk to them, just print off this blog post and give copies to the members of your team.

Holiday Injuries on the Rise this Season

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a blog article with tips for preventing decorating-caused injuries. Unfortunately, the news has filled up with accidents due to people falling while hanging decorations. I don’t know about you, but being injured is not how I would want to spend the holiday season.

Holiday Injuries

Here’s an article that talks about the number of injuries at a specific Iowa hospitalholiday injuries. A doctor from the hospital’s ER said he sees at least one ladder-related injury each day since Thanksgiving.

So, what’s causing all these accidents? The fire marshal quoted in the article seems to have a good idea. He said, “It’s very important not to step on that top rung of the ladder. There’s a sign on that ladder that tells you not to use the top of that for a reason. It’s very important also that if you are on an extension ladder outside that somebody is footing that ladder for you.”

In addition to not using the top rung, operators need to be aware of their location, especially in relation to the ladder. As mentioned in Tuesday’s post, those on the ladders also need to remember not to lean to the side. Instead, move the ladder and then climb back up. Those using ladders can never be too careful to follow all the safety guidelines.

These articles in the news are a good reminder to everyone why it is important to be careful on ladders. If you haven’t yet talked to your team about ladder safety, take a few minutes today and talk about holiday safety. You can use some of the articles we’ve written as a starting point for your special holiday training. Let’s help everyone from our teams get home safe this holiday season!

Tips to Staying Stable While on a Ladder

Staying stable on an extension ladder can be tough sometimes. There are two main causes for stability issues. The first main cause is having the extension ladder slip. The second main cause is having the operator lean.

Slipping Extension Ladders

There are plenty of awful stories of things that can happen when a ladder becomes unstable. Here’s a video example of what can happen when a ladder loses its stability. The man’s ladder became unstable due to a few safety steps not being followed. These lack of proper safety procedures resulted in the man getting injured and needing six months of recovery.

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Leaning Extension Ladders

When using an extension ladder, it is important not to lean to either side. Even just a slight lean could lead to a major degree shift at the bottom. The major reason workers lean on the ladder is because they don’t want to get down the ladder and move. Over-reaching is a common problem and can cause some of the worst falls. Once the operator moves from the center of gravity, the ladder can become unstable very easily. These falls can lead to ladder-related fatalities.

Staying Stable on a Ladder

The best tip for staying stable on the ladder is to take the time to remember to be safe. To prevent a ladder from slipping, the operator needs to take some time to make sure the ladder is on level ground and is at the right angle. One of the key ways to fight overreaching is to remember to get off the ladder when reaching would be required. Then, the operator must move the ladder to the next spot and continue doing so whenever reaching would be required.

Make sure you train your team about keeping their ladders stable. Also, make sure you have equipment on hand that can prevent these types of accidents, even when humans make a potentially fatal mistake. The SumoStance, for example, has outriggers that help the ladder remain stable even when there is movement at the top. Proper equipment and proper training are crucial in improving your team’s safety

In the News: Safe Tree Trimming

tree trimmingA man in North Carolina fell from his ladder when he was shocked by a power line. The man had been trimming a tree when the tree branch slipped and hit the high voltage power line with the man holding the branch. The man was shocked and ended up in the hospital.

What He Should Have Done

There have been quite a few stories in the news involving people who got injured while cutting down or trimming a tree. When tree trimming, you need to be careful you aren’t leaned against the tree. The biggest thing you want to do before cutting down the tree is determine where the branch will be falling and how much space the branch needs. Some of this estimation takes a little bit of math and skill, but it is important. Once you determine both of these elements, you can decide where to put your ladder.

If you are working by a power line, you will want to make sure you use a fiberglass ladder to prevent the chance of electrocution. Unfortunately, in the case of this news story, a fiberglass ladder would not necessarily have helped. To help ensure safety, OSHA has some tips for safe tree trimming on its website.

These tips are probably a review for you, but please take the time to remind your team about tree trimming ladder safety. So many accidents happen when people misplan or miscalculate the tree. To prevent these common accidents, it seems a little training is needed to help.

Even Safety Professionals Make Mistakes

safety professional mistakesAlways remember that even safety professionals can make mistakes with their ladders. This week, I ran across an article safety giving tips for people wanting to hang Christmas decorations. One company, whose representative was quoted in the article, talked about how his company could take the risk from people by hanging the decorations. At the bottom of the article, the company included a brief ladder safety tutorial. The problem was that the little safety video does not have good examples of safe ladder use.

The Mistakes

Here are just a few things we noticed from the video:

-The extension ladder’s angle is not 75.5 degrees, the angle all extension ladders should be.

-They have the men on the steep roof reaching over the edge.

-They have one worker standing on the top cap of the A-frame stepladder.

-They have workers under the drop zone of the extension ladder.

The thing about on-the-job safety is that even professionals who think they know what they’re doing get it wrong! It’s crucial to always be training yourself so you are reminded what is safe and what is not.

It is crucial to always know your facts and to double check where you are getting your information. Also, practice what you preach. Always make sure you are being safe and a good example to the members of your team. If you find yourself being unsafe, quickly correct it and let anyone who saw you know you were mistaken.

When people teach the wrong things, it makes it even more difficult to teach the right things. Like any subject, when there are wrong facts floating around, people can get confused and may even listen to the wrong information. Like in the case of this “ladder safety” video, the people weren’t actually being safe, and they positioned themselves as experts.

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