Every couple of months I like to have a detailed post on what to look for when you are inspecting a ladder. We have a great checklist in our toolbox, so make sure to check that out. You can print it off and have it available for your team to use whenever they use a ladder.
Make sure the spreaders are solid and aren’t missing any rivets. Make sure the rails aren’t cracked. Check the foot pads and that the top cap is securely connected.
Check to make sure the feet are in good shape, that they aren’t damaged or cracked. Also check the treads to see they are clear and not filled with dirt or any other foreign substance. Also make sure the tread has more than 1/16″ left on it.
Locks on the Ladder
Make sure the locks engage properly and that they don’t have too much play. If there are any sharp edges or nicks, don’t use the ladder. If the ladder needs lubrication, take the time to do it.
Examine the Rungs
Check the tread on the rungs and make sure it isn’t too worn down. Make sure the rung’s connection to the rail is secure and that there aren’t any bends, deformities or cracks in the aluminum. Also make sure there isn’t any major damage to the rung.
If you find any of these pieces out of order on your ladder, take your ladder out of service and send it for repairs. Make sure to replace the damaged one with a ladder in good shape.
These are just a few steps when inspecting your ladder. If you are looking for a full inspection, make sure to check out our inspection checklist.
Ladder safety is important all year round, but there are a few extra precautions to take in the summer. They may not be exactly what you hear think of when you hear “ladder safety,” but they are still important to remember.
Beware of Heat
The heat index can be a huge risk when you are working on a ladder outside. Make sure you stay hydrated while working. If you find yourself feeling faint or otherwise unwell, make sure to get off the ladder and take a break.
Beware of Ladder Temperature
Another risk to remember is the ladder’s temperature. When possible, avoid letting the ladder sit out in the heat as you try to keep the temperature barable. Metal ladders can get especially hot, and this heat can actually be dangerous for anyone who touches it.
Sun protection is another key to ladder safety in the summer. When working outside, it is important to protect yourself by wearing a hat and/or sunblock and finding other ways to protect yourself.
Avoid the Hottest Time of Day
Right around noon is the worst time to do any sort of work outside. Whenever possible, do your work at other times of the day.
Hopefully these tips will help you climb safe this summer!
“I’ll just use this exercise ball as a stepladder”
We found this clip on Twitter from @AwardsDarwin.
I just ran across an article about another ladder accident. One man was working on the ladder when another man on the forklift knocked the ladder, causing the first man to fall to the ground.
This story is a valuable reminder of the importance of paying attention to your surroundings whether you are on a ladder or whether you are in the area a ladder is being used. This entire accident could have been prevented if the forklift driver had been paying attention to his surroundings while driving.
The thing is, when a ladder tips to its side, the person on the ladder is susceptible to the most serious injuries. The forklift hit the base of the ladder, knocking the worker all the way to the ground. Not much detail is available about the status of the injured man except that he is at the hospital and is in serious condition.
Now, the man who was climbing the ladder isn’t completely off the hook. One thing he could have done to hopefully prevent this accident was to put up a sign in the vicinity of where he was working. Especially when working in a hard-to-see area, putting up a caution sign can alert those around to be careful.
Let this be a precautionary tale for all of us to make sure we are alert and aware of our surroundings and to take the necessary precautions when we are climbing.
Halleen and her husband
This week, I ran across a story about a ladder accident. While the story focuses on the miraculous recovery the woman made, there is more we can talk about.
The woman in the news article, Sherry Halleen, was vacuuming rafters near her kitchen when she fell off her ladder, crashing to the floor and landing on her back. Halleen spent weeks in the hospital and then even more weeks in physical and occupational therapy. While she is almost all recovered now, she does not remember much about the weeks she spent in the hospital. She also doesn’t remember falling from the ladder, landing on the floor or riding in the ambulance to the hospital. She still sometimes has trouble remembering some words and phrases.
What are some takeaway lessons from this accident?
First, this story is a great reminder of how fast ladder accidents can happen and how quickly everything can change. Halleen went from a healthy, 69 year old woman to a woman in a hospital bed with brain damage in the matter of a few seconds, seconds that she doesn’t even remember.
Second, we don’t know all the circumstances of this ladder accident, but the story is a good reminder of why we should not stand on the top rung or top cap of the ladder since doing so can cause the ladder to tip easily.
Luckily, this story didn’t end as badly as it could have, but let it be a reminder for us.