Category: True Stories (page 1 of 11)

Tragic Accident

Emergency-signLast month, I ran across this tragic story from Pasadena, California. A man passed away in a horrible chainsaw ladder accident. These stories are especially tragic when they happen during the holiday season, like this one did.

The California man was standing on a ladder while trimming a tree. Based on the accident report, the man fell from the ladder and severed his arm  and neck with the chainsaw. Police found deceased outside his home when doing a welfare check.

As tragic as this story is, we have a few reminders to help prevent these types of accidents:

  1. Never lean your ladder against the tree you are trimming
  2. Have someone be a “spotter” and don’t work alone
  3. Don’t lean or overreach while on the ladder

Our hearts go out to this man’s family. I come to work each day and write these articles to prevent these types of accidents from happening.

A Ladder Accident in North Carolina

SS-6-10-Pruning-2-e1447266449211In North Carolina last month, a 68 year old man was on a ladder when he lost his balance and fell. He had been working on a tree and suffered spine and rib fractures.

This man suffered serious injuries, but, the worst part is that this accident probably could have been prevented. Here are a coupe of tips for preventing a ladder accident while you are working on trees.

  1. Never lean the ladder against the tree you are working on.
  2. Never lean or overreach while on a ladder, especially while you are trimming a tree.
  3. Maintain three points of contact.
  4. Be aware of the tools you need, and find a way tobring them safely up and down the ladder.


We wish the victim a speedy recovery. Our hearts go out to him and his family.

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!

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