Category: True Stories (page 1 of 11)

Man in Australia dies in Ladder Accident

The man was doing some renovation work near the edge of a mezzanine floor when he fell from his ladder.

The  Executive Director Health and Safety in Melbourne said, “It is a devastating reality that another family has lost a loved one due to an incident at work.”

We couldn’t agree more. It can get a little depressing seeing all these stories about ladder accidents and deaths and injuries, but it is important to remember these people and learn from mistakes.

In this case, make sure your ladder is level and is leaning against a sturdy surface. Also, make sure the ladder is at the correct angle. Always check the ladder feat to make sure they are in good condition and don’t have anything that would affect the grip.

Be Safe on the Job

OSHA and MSHA are the two primary government agencies responsible for authoring and enforcing workplace safety regulations.

The Story

A fire alarm technician was inspecting the fire alarms at a care center when he climbed an extension ladder, provided by the care center. He fell from the ladder,  breaking both feet and suffering other orthopedic injuries. In his spine, he also suffered a compression fracture in his spine.

The Technician’s View

In court, the technician argued that the maintenance supervisor who set up the ladder for him had done it incorrectly. He also said the maintenance supervisor had not inspected or maintained the la, violating OSHA regulations.

The Care Center’s View

The care center argued the accident was the worker’s fault for not being properly trained and that the care center was not to blame for the worker not returning to work.

The Court Decision

After 10 days in trial and two days in deliberations, the court sided with the worker. The care center had to pay him for damages, lost wages, past medical costs and furture medical costs.

This case gives us a few reminders. First, OSHA protects workers at their own company as well as at companies they visit. Second, ladder safety is important for employees as well as visitors. Always inspect your ladder before you use it and before youlet others use it. Also, train your team and any other visitors who will be using a ladder on how to use the ladder safely.

Firefighter Falls from Ladder

Lincolnton Fire Department Capt. Joe Fletcher (right) with his son, Parker, 4, and his father, Boger City firefighter Louis Fletcher, courtesy of Michelle T. Bernard.

Joe Fletcher was hired full-time as a firefighter with the Lincolnton, North Carolina Fire Department when he was 20, was promoted to engineer a few years later and was promoted as captain 2016. Last November, he fell from his ladder while working on his gutters. The ladder moved, knocking him onto his deck, on the top of his backpack leaf blower.

“I got my senses together and did a quick self-check to see if I could get up but I had pretty extreme pain in my lower back so I knew I had done something but I wasn’t sure of the magnitude of what I’d done,” he said about the accident. “Thankfully, I had my cell phone in my back pocket and I called the fire station. Probably because he recognized my number, the assistant chief picked up the phone. I told him that I had fell from my roofline and I was hurt and needed someone to come and help me.”

Within minutes, his fellow firefighters arrived. Fletcher thought he just needed help standing up, but quickly realized the injury was more severe when he got a sharp pain up his back. He was transported the hospital strapped on a backboard to keep him from injuring himself more.

Two days after the accident, Fletcher had a surgery to put two rods on the outside of his backbone with four screws on each side. The rods were used to stabilize a lower back fracture. He then had physical therapy for three weeks.

Just before Christmas, Fletcher returned to work on light duty. He had to the fire department on light duty the week before Christmas, and was on light duty. In June, he had another surgery to remove the rods and screws and another three weeks of physical therapy. He was on light duty for a little while more and returned to his regular job on Aug. 8.

While Fletcher said that it never really crossed his mind that he wouldn’t be able to return to work, he was afraid that he would not be as good as he once was.

“I pretty much stayed in the mindset that I was coming back,” he said. “At 28 years old, I’m an eight-and-a-half-year veteran here in Lincolnton but, in my opinion, it’s way too early to end my career. So far it’s going good.”

We are glad this accident had a better outcome than some, but this accident most likely could have been prevented. The accident happened when his ladder slipped. The most common causes of a ladder slipping are setting the ladder at the wrong angle, using the ladder on a wet or slippery surface, or using a ladder with worn feet. The good news is that each of these causes can easily be prevented. Set your ladder at a 75.5 degree angle. Make sure the ground is dry before you climb. Replace worn ladder feet.

We are glad this firefighter was able to recover. Remember to climb safe!

Man Airlifted After Ladder Accident

Emergency-signIn April, a man was working at an auto body shop when he fell from his ladder. He suffered traumatic injuries and had to be air-lifted to the hospital. Like many of the tragic stories we talk about, the news article shared few details about the accident or the man’s condition. However, because we know the accident happened at an auto body shop, we can guess talk about some of the potential dangers of his situation and how to avoid them.

The first hazard is slipping. Auto body shops have paint, lubricants and other substances that can easily spill on the ground, making it easy for you or your ladder to slip and fall. When using a ladder, always make sure the ground is clean and free of anything slippery.

A second hazard is overreaching. If a ladder is used to reach the top of tall vehicles, it may be tempting to lean so the worker doesn’t need to get down and move the ladder as often. The fact is, however, that leaning while on the ladder is dangerous and can lead to major injuries, especially if the worker lands on concrete.

Our hearts go out to this worker, and we hope that he is able to recover from his injuries. Let’s be safe out there!

Transporting Ladders Safely

One topic we rarely cover is how to transport ladders safely.

In LA, a person was driving down the freeway with a ladder hanging out the car window. A motorcylist was driving and either swerved to avoid the ladder or had another car swerve into him. The motorcyclist ended up hitting the ladder and dying.

There are safe ways to transport ladders, but putting a ladder horizonatally in the car is not one of them.

Here are some tips for transporting your ladder safely.

Transporting Your Ladder on Your Vehicle

If you are putting your ladder on your car’s roof, put it parallel (as opposed to perpendicular) to your car and make sure it is secure. If the ladder extends past your car, put a red flag on the ladder to let other drivers know to be careful. Be aware that putting your ladder on the ladder will increase wear and tear on your ladder and decrease your gas mileage, but, if you don’t have another option, putting your ladder on the roof is a good option.

Transporting Your Ladder Inside Your Vehicle

If you decide to transport your ladder inside your vehicle, make sure it is secured so it won’t knock passengers or other equipment while you are driving.

Choosing the Ladder

If you know you will transporting the ladder regularly, choose a ladder that fits your vehicle. There are ladders that fold to be quite small, making it easy to transport them in your car or trunk.

What other tips do you have for transporting your ladder safely?

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