Author: Dave (page 2 of 92)

Top Safety Tips from Washington Department of Labor

Sometimes we focus on specific
aspects of safety or issues that came up in a ladder accident, but it is also
good to just have a couple of general reminders.

The Washington Department of Labor offers good reminders

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for using your ladder safely.

  1. Carefully inspect the ladder
    1. Before using the ladder, look over every aspect
      of the ladder. Make sure all rivets, welds and components are in good working
      shape. Make sure the ladder is clean and free of any slick surfaces.
  2. Look at the ladder’s feet and slip-resistant

    1. If the ladder’s feet or pads are worn out, get
      the ladder out of service until they have been replaced.
  3. If you’ll be using your ladder near electricity,
    opt for a fiberglass ladder.

    1. Aluminum ladders are great because they are
      lightweight and generally easier to pack around than fiberglass ladders.
      However, if there is any chance you will be around electrical wires, opt for
      fiberglass since the fiberglass material does not conduct electricity.
  4. Set the ladder at a correct angle
    1. When using an extension ladder, set your ladder
      at a 75.5 degree angle. You can download the ladder safety app from NIOSH to
      help you determine the correct angle. Or, you can follow the “4-1 Rule.” Four
      every four feet (or four rungs) of height, you should have the ladder one foot away
      from the leaning surface or wall.
  5. Use the ladder on flat, level ground or use

    1. Make sure the ground is level before you climb
      to help your ladder stay upright when you are at the top. If you have a ladder
      with levelers, you can adjust them to the unlevel ground before climbing.

For more tips, visit Washington
Department of Labor’s website or browse this website.

Workplace Safety Infographic

Here’s an infographic from Progressive Safety Equipment with tips for workplace safety. Check it out!

Ladder Accident Survivor Lucky to Be Alive

Matt Burke was in hospital for over a month after his fall
Matt Burke was in hospital for over a month after his fall (Image: Matt Burke and Hull Daily Mail)

A UK man fell from his ladder and is now unable to walk. He was on his ladder back in 2012 when he slipped, fell off his five foot ladder and fell to the ground, smashing his head on the concrete floor. 

He had a five-hour operation to fix bleeding in his brain, and he was in the hospital for a month. He had trouble seeing, suffered short-term memory issues and had to learn to walk again. With the help of his parents and a lot of time (more than two years!), the man was able to make a full recovery. In fact, this year he was even able to run a marathon. 

“I always thought that an accident would never happen to me,” he said. “So when it did, it was a big shock to the system.”

His story is a great reminder to us that, while miracles and recovery can happen, ladder-related accidents are serious and can be life-altering. Always be alert and careful when using your ladder. Remember the safety tips we share here, and climb safe!

Guest Post: Safety When Working at Height

This guy is NOT practicing ladder safety

Working at height can be tricky, but you can take safety precautions before undertaking any work at height to help keep these risk to a minimum.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends you carry out a thorough inspection of any ladder before each use, also known as pre-checks. If you are the owner of ladders, you are also responsible for carrying out a proper inspection to check they are fit for purpose before anybody else uses them.

If ladders have fallen, been stored incorrectly or have been moved from one place to another, it is vital they are inspected for any damage. When you perform an inspection on a ladder, pay attention to these areas:

The Rails – the vertical rails that form the frame should be straight without any bends or cracks. If the rails do have any issues, the ladder may be in danger of collapsing.

The Feet – These should be in place, securely attached at the bottom of the rails. They must not have any visible signs of wear or damage. The feet should also be clean and free from any debris.

The Rungs – The rungs should all be straight, without any bends or splits. All rungs should be in place since a missing rung can destabilize ladders. Anti-slip rung covers are a great idea to help reduce the risk of any accidents.

The Locking Bars – If they are bent or damaged, or there are any signs of wear, the ladder may be unsafe and should not be used.

The Platform – If the platform is bent or damaged, the ladder should not be used since it could cause the ladder to buckle and fall.

The Treads on the Rungs – These should be clean and dry before use. If they are dirty or slippery, the stepladder may slip when it is climbed.

A full risk assessment should be carried out before you or any of your employees begin any task which requires working at height.

First, check if some or all of the work can be completed at ground level. Once you know ladders are required, and all of the inspections have been done as per the above instructions, you need to ensure you have the right type of ladder for the job. When it comes to ladders, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Trying to use the incorrect ladder for a job could be just as dangerous as not carrying out any checks at all. The user should also be competent and aware of the risks and health and safety regulations . All employees should follow a safe system of work which should be detailed in your company policy or training handbook.

Working with faulty, damaged or inadequate equipment will greatly increase the risk of accident and injury. If you take the time to inspect everything before you start, you will significantly reduce the risks involved in working at height and reduce the likelihood of injury occurring.

Securing Your Ladder

Securing your ladder when you travel is as important as using it safely. This week, I saw an article about a ladder that fell off of a vehicle and was left in the road. In an effort to avoid the ladder, a car swerved, rolled and hit another car. 

So, what are some tips for safely securing a ladder when you’re transporting it? 

  1. Use a ladder rack. Using a ladder rack is one of the most convenient ways to transport your ladder from job to job. Always make sure the ladders are put on and secured all the way. Also, never stack ladders on top of one another on the rack. 
  2. Use a Ratchet Strap. If you don’t have a ladder rack, use a ratchet strap to make sure the ladder is stored safely and tightly to the ladder. If your ladder is hanging out the back of your truck or other vehicles, always use a red flag to let other drivers know they need to watch out. 
  3. Put the ladder inside the vehicle. Not only will the ladder be safe and secure, but you will get better gas mileage. A study done a few years ago found that when ladders were transported inside a vehicle, the vehicle got much better gas mileage and decreased the wear and tear. 

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