This last week we had the opportunity to have a booth at NSC. I didn’t speak this year. Instead I helped man the booth. It was great to see everyone there showing interest in our ladders. At our booth, we had the Aerial Safety Cage, the Conquest, the SumoStance and the SafeFrame. We got to meet and talk with people from all over. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen some of the pictures and things from the show (If you don’t follow me yet, check out @laddersafetyguy). We took a bunch of pictures and had a good time.

In our booth, we had a few videos playing, including our recent SafeFrame video. Just for fun, we all dressed like Sean from the video. We wore jeans and our Little Giant shirts. We also got to wear fake beards.

Were you at NSC? What was your favorite part?

Do’s and Don’ts of Extension Ladders

Every now and again, it’s nice to have a simple ladder safety training plan all laid out. Here’s just a basic plan for a future ladder safety training for extension ladders:

First, you can go over the basics.

On an extension ladder you should (Thank you to safety.blr.com for the guidelines.):

  • Maintain 3-point contact when climbing or descending a ladder
  • Face the ladder when climbing up or descending
  • Keep your body inside the side rails
  • Avoid tipping the ladder over sideways or causing the ladder base to slide out
  • Carry tools in a tool belt or raise tools up using a hand line. Never carry tools in your hands while climbing up or down a ladder
  • Extend the top of the ladder three feet above the roof line
  • Keep ladders free of any slippery materials

Here’s what your employees should NOT DO:

  • Place a ladder on boxes, barrels, or unstable bases
  • Use a ladder on soft ground or unstable footing
  • Exceed the ladder’s maximum load rating
  • Tie two ladders together to make them longer
  • Ignore nearby overhead power lines
  • Move or shift a ladder with a person or equipment on the ladder
  • Lean out beyond the ladder’s side rails
  • Use an extension ladder horizontally like a platform

When putting on a training, it can be helpful to have visual aids to illustrate what you are telling them to do or not do. You can use pictures or videos. For example, here’s a video you could show as an example of what not to do.

Hopefully this post gives you an idea on what to include in an effective safety presentation.

How to Be the Best Safety Manager [pt2]

training younger workersBeing a safety manager can be a tough job. You have the safety of the employees in your hands, but, at the same time, you don’t want to be known as the guy who is always yelling at everyone. Here are a few tips to be the best safety manager you can be:

Know the Rules & Stick to Them

Make sure you are knowledgeable about the safety rules. You should be a resource to your team, someone they can ask questions. Have regular safety trainings where you share your knowledge with others. Then, make sure you enforce the guidelines you have put into place. If you see someone violating an OSHA guideline, talk to them about it. If you see someone following a safety guideline, reward them. A wise person once told me to “chastise privately, but reward publically.” Keep that in mind as you enforce the safety guidelines.

Encourage Good Behavior

Going off the “reward publically,” make sure you reward those who are following safety rules. Recognize them during team meetings. Not only will that make the person feel good and appreciated, it will also show everyone that you are keeping an eye out and notice when people are following safety guidelines.

Have Regular Risk Assessments

Check with your team regularly to ensure proper safety guidelines are being followed. If you notice a safety issue getting violated regularly, consider doing a special safety training on that issue. If the problem continues, see if there is better equipment or a better solution out there. Try to make it as easy as possible for your team to be safe.

One of the most important ways to prevent injuries is by having a safety officer who cares and who takes his or her job seriously. Hopefully these tips will help you do your job just a little better and prevent more injuries.

How to Be the Best Safety Officer [pt 1]

Earn Respect

As a safety officer, you need the respect of your team. Never do anything that would lose their respect like invent facts or violate safety rules yourself. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit you don’t know and then find the answer. Making something up since “You are supposed to know everything” won’t do anyone any favors. Also, if you see a safety violation, make sure you correct the violation and use it as a teaching moment.

Reward “Good Behavior”

As a safety officer, you may always be tempted to focus on the negative sine that is a large part of the job. However, you can find ways to focus on the positive elements too. Find ways to reward your team when they do things the right way. If your team is struggling with a certain safety focus, find a way to track when they are safe. If your team is struggling with ladder safety, for example, you could choose one piece of ladder safety and reward them when they stay safe. You could choose to track when ladders are being inspected and reward them if they inspect their ladders a percentage you choose. Obviously, you can adapt this tip for whatever works best for you and your team.

Have a Plan

Any good leader has a plan and executes that plan. As a safety officer, make sure you develop a safety plan and then use that plan as you develop trainings and find ways to enforce the rules.

Being a safety officer can be a tough job, but, hopefully, these tips will help make your job a little easier.

Prevent a Ladder Accident

Emergency-signIn Ontario Canada last month, a man installing drywall fell from his ladder. He was alone in the room at the time, so the paramedics could not say for sure what caused the accident. Due to the fall, the man had a fractured shoulder. He was unconscious when he fell, and, when he regained consciousness, he showed signs of a concussion. Based on his injuries, the paramedic who reported to the scene estimated his fall to be from eight to ten feet.

What can we learn from this accident?

Since the details of the accident are a little unclear, it is hard to tell how to prevent this type of accident. From the small amount of information, here are a few takeaways.

Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency

One cause that has not been ruled out for this accident is a medical emergency. Make sure you train your team on the importance of stopping work if he or she is not feeling 100 percent healthy. Usually, there are signs such as nausea or dizziness before a true medical emergency. Maybe, as part of a safety training, you could talk about signs of a sickness. That way, your team knows what to do for themselves and their teammates.

Beware of Slipping Hazards

Remind your team to wipe down the ladder whenever it is wet or sticky. In addition, wear the proper footwear. Flip-flops and other non-gripping shoes have no place on ladders. While climbing, this man could have easily slipped if something on his ladder was slick or if his shoes did not grip well.

Maintain Three Points of Contact

Train your team on the importance of maintaining three points of contact. Doing this will help workers catch themselves more easily if they lose footing or grip.

Use the Ladder Safely

So many times, I see people using ladders in crazy ways. Sometimes they are on the top cap. Sometimes they have their legs wrapped around the rungs. Sometimes they are leaning. Using a ladder in any of these ways could lead to a terrible accident and injury. Somehow, it seems using the ladder safely is not as easy as it sounds. Train your team so they know not to use the ladder this way. Then, if you see them suing the ladder wrong, make sure to correct them.

As far as the news article says, the man should make a full recovery. Luckily, the accident wasn’t worse, but we can still learn so the same thing does not happen to a member of your team.

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