A North Carolina city worker was climbing the ladder on a 210-foot tall water tower when her harness failed and she fell. She did not fall all way to the ground, but she did pass away as a result of the fall. The accident is currently under investigation, but the employee’s job title “Admin Support” so it is initially unclear why she was on the water tower’s ladder.
What Can Be Learned
If her job didn’t directly have to do with ladders, she probably did not receive the necessary training to use them safely. In addition, it sounds like her fall protection failed. Whenever an employee is climbing a ladder, make sure he or she gets the necessary training. Also, always inspect all equipment and make sure those using the ladder have the proper clothing and footwear. The time to make sure the fall protection equipment is safe to use is when everyone is safely on the ground, not when someone is 100+ feet in the air. In addition, make sure the equipment has been put on and set up the correct way. If the harness isn’t on correctly, it will not do its job.
As far as inspection, fixed ladders receive a little bit different inspection process than portable ladders, but make sure the fixed ladders are in good condition and are safe for workers to climb them.
This tragic story is a reminder to always make sure those using ladders are trained and that all equipment has been inspected.