For those of you who work in the horticulture industry, we wanted to do a special post to help you be safer on ladders. Horticulture is known for being a risky industry, with falls from high ladders, trees and stepladders. Summer and fall are the most common times for these injuries since that is the busy time for horticulturist. More than 1000 people are injured while working in horticulture every year. Also, since 2008 10 people have died. So, how can these accidents be prevented? One major way is by using ladders more safely. Here are a couple of tips specifically for horticulturists.
Always make sure the ground is level, and use levelers when necessary. When trimming trees and doing other outside work, the ground is naturally uneven. Make sure to either dig out ground on one side or use levelers to help prevent your ladder from tipping.
Follow the Belt Buckle Rule
Never reach outside the rails of the ladder. If you lean, your ladder is more likely to tip which can lead to severe injuries. If you find yourself tempted to lean, get off the ladder and move it closer to where you need it to be.
Use the Right Ladder
Always choose the right ladder for the job. Orchard ladders, like the one in the picture, just aren’t safe to use. Extension ladders are not good options either. The best ladder for horticulture would be an adjustable a-frame. You can adjust the height to reach what you need to, but the ladder is stable.
Never lean the ladder against the Tree
One of the common things I see is a person leaning an extension ladder against a tree he or she is trimming. This is incredibly dangerous. In fact, there are plenty of “ladder fails” and other accidents reported from trimming a tree this way. Instead, use an a-frame ladder and don’t lean it against what you’re trimming.