With the cold weather comes ice and with ice comes extra safety concerns, especially with your ladder. When there is snow and ice, your ladder can easily slip. Always choose dry, solid ground when setting up your ladder.
If there is ice and snow, choose another place or wait until the snow and ice melt before climbing. If you really need to use your ladder, depending on how cold it is, you could melt the snow and ice yourself using salt. You need to be careful with this technique though, since it could backfire.
While we are talking about snow and ice, be aware of your shoes. If you have been walking through mud and snow and then climb the ladder, you will easily get slippery mud and melted snow (also known as water), making your ladder too slick to climb. Instead, wipe off your shoes before you climb your ladder.
Take extra precautions when using your ladder in the winter months to make sure you are safe and able to return home safely to your family.
Every year during the holiday season, we see more and more ER visits due to ladder-related injuries. People get out their ladders to hang their holiday decorations. Unfortunately, their ladders are either not safe to use or they don’t use the ladder safely, resulting in a ladder-related injury and an ER visit for treatment.
Here are a couple of tips for you hanging Christmas decorations in the coming days and weeks.
You should be inspecting your ladder every single time, but, if you haven’t dug out the ladder for a while, make sure to look it all over to make sure it still works as well as the last time you had it out of storage.
Leaning is probably one of the most common causes of holiday and ladder-related accidents. Always keep your body between the rails. It is tempting to reach past the rails instead of getting off the ladder and moving it, but don’t make this mistake. Prevent a fall by getting off the ladder, moving it and climbing back up to hang the lights or other decorations.
Three Points of Contact
While hanging decorations, find a way to maintain three points of contact. If maintaining three points of contact requires multiple trips to being the decorations up and down the ladder, choose safety over the convenience of fewer trips.
What other tips do you have for those hanging their Christmas and holiday decorations to help them be safer?
In April, NBC News posted an article about workplace falls in residential construction.
The article shares some shocking data about the number of injuries and falls in this industry.
“The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 887 workers died in falls in 2017 — the most since the agency started tracking job-related fatalities nearly three decades ago,” The article states. “Those deaths from falls accounted for more than 17 percent of all job-related fatalities that year, also a record. In construction, the rate was even higher — almost 40 percent.”
According to experts, the increase in the number of accidents is caused by an increase in inexperienced workers who aren’t getting the safety training they need. Larger companies are participating in training efforts like the National Stand-Down and National Safety Month, but smaller construction companies are not, and this lack of participation is affecting their workers’ safety.
So, what can be done to improve this issue?
- If you are a worker at one of these sites, speak up when you see something safe. Smaller companies are obligated to follow all the same safety rules as larger companies.
- If you own a smaller company, get your workers the training they need.
- Change the culture. When you have a mentality of finishing the job no matter what, workers’ safety is automatically put at risk. Change the culture to focus on being safe, and you will see a reduction in injuries.
The accidents happening in residential construction are serious. Workers, especially young, Hispanic workers are especially at risk, but many, if not all, of these accidents, can be prevented.
One of the top trends I’ve noticed in the last couple of years is the leaning ladder trend. Up until just a couple of years ago, the rule was to never use a stepladder folded up against the wall since it is not designed to be used that way. The rule still applies to ordinary stepladders, which can cause some confusion on the job site when there is a leaning ladder.
Leaning ladders have extra rubber to prevent them from slipping out so they can be used safely in the leaning position. Most ladder companies have a leaning ladder. The King Kombo from Little Giant Is a leaning ladder, in addition to an extension ladder and stepladder. The narrow side on the stepladder can fit through wall studs to help framers work more safely. The rotating top cap accessory allows you to work on inside or outside corners safely. The King Kombo Industrial comes with a v-bar for use on outside corners in the extension position too.
It is truly amazing how much innovation is happening in the ladder industry. Gone are the days when you have an ordinary ladder with the same warning labels.
If you have a leaning ladder on your job site, make sure to use it safely.
Step Ladders are a common tool you will find in many industrial occupations, including construction carpenters, electricians, landscapers, brick and cement masons, drywall installers, and much more. Step Ladders are also often used within the home.
When using a step ladder be sure to remember these important safety tips. Start with level ground or use a leveling tool to adjust the ladder. Ladders are susceptible to tipping when not supported evenly at the base. Make sure your ladder is opened and locked in the right position. Never leave a ladder in a partially opened position. Once your ladder is set up correctly, be cautious when ascending and descending. Do not attempt to reposition your ladder while climbing or resting on the steps. Stay towards the middle of the steps and do not overreach, as doing so can create instability. While it may seem easier to carry objects yourself while ascending, always face your ladder when in use and keep a firm hold with your hands. Lastly, never stand on the top step of your ladder, it is unstable and not suitable for climbing.
Your ladder should be equipped with built-in safety tools. You should see anti-slip safety feet on the bottom to prevent sliding. Your spreaders should stay strong and locked when in use. Your steps should stay secure and hold in place to support your weight. If one of these aspects is not working as intended, do not climb your ladder. Always do an inspection before you climb to make sure your ladder is in good enough shape to use.
Keeping these tips in mind, no matter the job, will keep you safe while operating your ladder. For more information and articles on stepladder safety visit AmericanLadderInstitute.org.