The Ontario Minister of Labor, Kevin Flynn, wrote a piece for the Financial Post about the importance of “mandatory working-at-height training.”
He talks about attending a recent ceremony honoring a worker who had recently died after a ladder fall. He heard the mom of the worker talking about her 22 year old son who fell off his ladder and died six days later.
Flynn said “The part of my job I hate is hearing that another person has died at work.”
He also adressed those who think Ontario’s mandatory training is “bureaucracy at its worst.”
According to Flynn, 50 workers die in Ontario and 17 of these workers fell from heights, making it the number one cause of death in Ontario.
Flynn said, “…Every single one of those deaths was preventable had the proper precautions been taken. Our training ensures each and every person working at heights knows what those precautions are and knows the risk of not taking them.”
As the Minister of Labor, Flynn takes his job incredibly seriously and looks for ways to decrese workplace accidents. We could all learn from his example as we also work to decrease the number of accidents.
Read the rest of Flynn’s article here.
In 2008, a man was helping his friends do some home repairs when he fell from the ladder to the concrete driveway. The man sued his friends, claiming that the ladder provided was not safe. The couple claimed he had been using the ladder improperly.
According to the report, the ladder did not reach the roof and had not been secured. The man fell while coming down the ladder, but he was facing away from the ladder. He suffered major injuries and had to go to the hospital. He is now unable to work and still suffers from the accident. The court awarded the man $1.1 million dollars, reduced from $2.6 million since he did contribute to the accident.
The ruling judge said, “It was reasonably foreseeable that any person travelling to or from the roof of the house that day via the ladder and the carport roof could fall, and be injured as a result. It was reasonably foreseeable that the ladder might tilt if it were not secured.”
The safety issues are pretty obvious from this story. Make sure your ladder extends three feet above the roofline. Face the ladder when climbing down. Enforce ladder safety on your property.
This case is a perfect example of why you can’t just let others “do their own thing.” The couple who got sued needed to call the man out when he was being unsafe and then teach him how to use the ladder the right way.
Do you want one more reason to teach ladder safety? I’ve got one for you. I just read an article a ladder accident in Ireland. The Irish courts determined the man could get damages for post-traumatic stress disorder from his ladder accident. He had been on a ladder trimming ivy, when he lost his balance and fell.
Your company or the property an accident happens at could become liable to cover any damages, including mental or emotional.
To prevent issues with the courts, the best course of action is to prevent ladder accidents. Here are some quick tips to help you and your team be safe:
-Train, train train
-Enforce the training
-Teach the basics
-Have good climbing equipment
-Make sure the training equipment is in good order
Don’t let you or anyone on your team get in the same situation as the man from the article. Make sure you know and follow the guidelines and that you help your team do the same.
In Chicago, a man was at a job site, about to climb a ladder, when he realized it was in bad shape. He told the supervisor who sent him home. After a couple of weeks, he was told to return to the job site, and he climbed a ladder that appeared safe. The ladder, however, was not safe. The spreader bar was cracked and gave way, causing the man to fall eight feet to a concrete floor. He is now suing the company since they had the duty to provide safe equipment.
This story is a good reminder of the importance of not only providing safe equipment, but also doing a thorough investigation. The man did a good job the first time by inspecting the ladder and then not climbing it. However, the company should have provided good ladders, especially after the first ladder was reported in bad shape. If you are the supervisor on a job site, you need to provide safe ladders and take ladders that are in bad shape off the site. We can’t stress this enough
As far as inspections go, we can’t emphasize the importance of them enough. Make sure the feet are in good shape and that no part of the ladder is bent or cracked. In the case of this story, there was an issue with the spreader bar that could have been caught with an inspection.
Hopefully we can learn a little bit from this sad accident so we don’t end up in the same situation.
In York County Pennsylvania, a man was working on a ladder at a Giant food store when he fell. After he was found, the man spent a week in the hospital before succumbing to his injuries. He had been on a 12 foot ladder when he fell and ended up with blunt force trauma.
This story is just heartbreaking. Steven Melhorn, the man who fell, was just doing his job when he suffered his serious accident. We don’t know what caused the fall, but what can be done to prevent these types of accidents?
Maintain Three Points of Contact
Any time you are on a ladder, follow the three points of contact rule. Always have either one foot and both hands or one hand and both feet on the ladder. Following this rule will make it easier to prevent falls since most of your body will already be on the ladder.
Never Stand on the Top Cap
If you are climbing a stepladder, it can be tempting to climb on the top cap of the ladder, but don’t fall into this trap. Standing on the top will make the ladder much easier to tip. Tipping ladders are quite dangerous since they can make the operator fall at a horrible angle with little to no reaction time.
Follow the Belt Buckle Rules
When on a ladder, keep your belt buckle between the rails. If your belt buckle is always between the rails, there is almost no way you can fall off the ladder.
Hopefully these tips will help you climb safe, and prevent accidents like the one in the news story.