Climbing Safe during the Holiday Season

be safe when hanging holiday decorations

A lot of times we talk about how to be safe at work, but in this post we are talking about being safe at home. Over the next couple weeks, a lot of people will be climbing on their ladders to hang holiday lights and other decorations. Here are some tips for you and others who will be getting on their ladders in the coming days and weeks.

 Tips for Climbing Safe

Do not lean while on the ladder.

When hanging decorations, it can be easy to reach a little extra to get the last bit of lights hung. Unfortunately, that extra reach could result in a terrible accident, ending in an unhappy and expensive trip to the doctor. Make sure to choose the ladder that is the right height when you are hanging the decorations. Select the best ladder for your job, in addition to the right height. If an extension ladder would work better than an A-frame, then use the extension. If the A-frame would work better, then use the A-frame. If you need to get close to a building, using ladder in a different position would make your job easier. If you need to get close to your house, use a ladder than can be used in the 90 degree position.

Maintain three points of control

When hanging decorations, it can be easy to forget the idea of maintaining control. When you are busing climbing, make sure you aren’t too busy to remember to be safe. Make sure you find ways to be in control as you climb and stand to prevent any unfortunate accidents. When climbing, make sure to pay attention to where your hands and feet are. When standing, make sure to always maintain the three points of control.

Make sure your ladder is on level ground

As you hang decorations, make sure your ladder is on level ground and is stable before you climb it. Imagine climbing up your ladder ready to decorate when your ladder slips or rocks, causing you to lose your balance. If you have a lot of unlevel ground where you will be working, find a ladder that has a way to easily adjust to make the ladder even. For example, using a ladder with Ratchet Levelers could be a way to make your job both safer and easier.

Remember these tips in the coming weeks as you put up your holiday decorations. Take a minute and share this post with your team as well to help them remember to climb safe.

Another Great Resource!

I stumbled on a new resource for you all this week. This great website gives some tips for climbing a ladder safely. It also gives tips for providing proper ladder safety training.

Using this Resource

If you are looking for some more ways to beef up your training, check out safety.blr.com for some advice and ideas. Also on the site is a handbook for improving workplace safety with tips for ladder training. It also has training for other workplace safety concerns.

The website also has some great resources from OSHA. While not 100 percent user friendly, if you dig around a bit on the site, you can find some of the OSHA requirements for ladders and other industry tools.

For Safety Program Development

If you are just getting started with your safety program, this website has great tips to start a program. There’s even a “Workplace Safety Builder” to give you some guidance on a somewhat overwhelming task. If you go to the “library” section, there are loads of articles and other items to download.

If you are looking at ways to get a little more involved with your team, this website has advice for starting an employee newsletter, as well as other time saving and team building activities. There are also quick audio training sessions you can use if you are looking for a last-minute safety activity.

I love it when I come across these great websites since they are full great tips for anyone in the safety industry! Make sure you take advantage of this great resource to help you and your team in your safety goals.

Ladders are Safety Equipment

ladders are safety equipmentDave got another article published this last weekend. Its titled “Ladders are Safety Equipment: Why Suppliers Should Carry Them.”

In the article, Dave talks about some of the issues faced by the ladder industry. He discusses the issue retailers have, that ladders take a lot of retail space and often don’t provide a good return on investment. He also talks about how big box retailers choose to sell the cheapest option, providing the consumer with an unsafe option.

Dave then discusses how ladders are safety equipment and why they should be treated that way. He talks about the hierarchy of control and how ladder retailers and manufacturers are becoming more focused on the safety and fall prevention element.

Make sure you check out the article with Industrial Distribution!

Ladders and Power lines

working on power linesThose of us in the safety industry know that power lines and non-fiberglass ladders don’t mix. Unfortunately, not everyone knows or remembers this.

The Story

In Thailand, there was an accident with a maintenance worker. He was using a ladder against a mess of wires and power lines. Two people stood at the bottom of the ladder to support the ladder and then move it along so the worker did not have to return to the ground.

While working, the technician got tangled in the wires and ended up getting shocked by one of the power lines. His coworkers who had held the ladder turned off the power and got another Bamboo ladder to try to help him. These workers got tangled as well, and a local authority had to get a knuckle boom crane to rescue all three. Read the entire story here.

Working Safely

Where to start? The first thing they should have done is have the right ladder for the job. These guys were working on power lines and cables with bamboo ladders. They should have had sturdy fiberglass ladders that hook safely on the power lines. It is great to have a spotter when you are working high up, but to have people move the ladder with a person on it is incredibly dangerous.

Luckily none of the employees from this story were injured too terribly, but I am sure they were shaken up enough to think twice before doing something like this again. It is incredibly important to always train your employees on safety and then enforce the safety. It sounds like the company these men work for does not care much about

Using Ladders on Staircases

Working on and around staircases can be dangerous.  Maintenance work still needs to be done even though stairways and ladders are major sources of injuries and fatalities among workers. Luckily, we have some tips to help you and your team when you have to work in these tricky spots.
dark horse staircases

OSHA Requirements

Here are the  general OSHA requirements for working on stairs:

-When there is a break in elevation of 19 inches or more and no ramp, runway, embankment or personnel  hoist available, employers must provide a stairway or ladder at all worker points of access.

-When there is only one point of access between levels, employers must keep it clear of obstacles to permit free passage by workers. If free passage becomes restricted, employers must provide a second point of access and ensure that workers use it.

-When there are more than two points of access between levels, employers, must ensure that at least one point of access remains clear.

How to Stay Safe

Even with following these guidelines, performing maintenance work in the staircase can be tricky. Luckily, there are some great products out there designed to helpaerial safety cage staircases you safely work in tricky spots. There is the Dark Horse from Little Giant. The Dark Horse can be used as an extension ladder, stepladder, or on the stairs. Another option is using the Little Giant Aerial Safety Cage. The Cage makes it easy to follow all tie off rules while keeping your hands free. The Cage can also be used on the stairs.

Almost all accidents can be prevented through proper training and proper use. Hopefully, these tips can help you and your team stay safe when you have to work on staircases.

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