A court ruled in favor of the plaintiff in the case of a ladder accident. The plaintoff descended a make-shift ladder when the ladder slid out from under him. The defense tried to blame the plaintiff, saying he missed the last rung. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff because, even if he did miss the last step, his ladder still slid out from under him.
This victim will receive help in his recovery, but this accident should never have happened.
Any situation involving a “make-shift ladder” is asking for problems. Always choose a real ladder when you need to reach a certain height. Inspect the ladder and make sure it is good condition for climbing. Are the ladder feet in good condition? If they’re not, the ladder can more easily slip. Is the ladder itself in good condition? In addition to a thorough inspection, always set the ladder at the correct angle before you climb.
By taking just a couple of precautions, you can prevent having a ladder accident like the one from this lawsuit.
Today, we have a guest post. It explores a ladder we haven’t covered much, the roof ladder. The workers’ coordination and physical condition are an important safety factor for using roof ladders safely, as are a sense of understanding the equipment and procedures to ensure safety and prevent accidents.
When working on a roof, a standard ladder may not be up to the job, and you will require one that has been specifically designed for that purpose. Several styles of roof ladders are available, including combination ladders or ladders with a roof hook. One of the most common types used is actually a standard ladder or extension ladder with a “roof hook” attached. The hook easily attaches to the top end of a ladder section with a small hook on the lower end of the ladder. Another type of roof ladder consists of two hooks that are screwed or bolted the rails of the ladder. The ends of the hooks are often pointed so that they will slightly stick into the roof surface. These pointed hooks may be safer in the sense that they are somewhat held in place more so than the un-pointed hooks. Regardless of which roof ladder you opt for, it is vital that is it is long enough for the job. Once set up, there should be least three rungs set above the gutter.
In order to get the roof ladder in place, take advantage of its design and use the wheels to allow you to push it up the roof. When the wheels reach the top of the roof ridge you can simply turn the ladder over and hook it securely on the ridge of the roof.
When it comes to climbing the ladder, always make sure you have a secure footing on the lowest rungs before moving up. It is important to avoid carrying too much additional weight as this could affect your balance. Ensure any tools or materials you do need to carry out the job are securely fastened, freeing up your hands so you can keep a firm grip on the rungs. It is sometimes possible that while working from some sections of the roof ladder, the roof hook could be levered off over the ridge. This would probably be caused by a bowed roof or a warped ladder.
When accessing the roof ladder once it has been set up, set up your ladder so it extends above the roof edge and is on either side of the roof ladder. When a ladder is set against a metal edge of a roof, it is easy for the ladder to slide. When it comes to getting on the roof ladder, you must be able to transfer your weight from the accessing ladder to the roof ladder.
After climbing to the peak, you must transfer yourself from the accessing ladder onto the ridge of the roof. While making the transfer, you could hold onto the highest section of the ladder for stability but do not bear your weight on the section of ladder that is above the roof edge that it sets against. At this point you will have to make your way across the peak to the roof ladder. You could walk the ridge or get down on the ridge and straddle yourself along. Either option comes with its risks and must be proceeded with caution.
A UK man was working to repair the roof on an old barn when his ladder failed. His ladder gave out from under him. Miraculously, he was able to slide down his ladder to the ground instead of falling dramatically like often happens in these stories. Unfortunately, as he fell, his leg got caught between the rungs and got twisted as he fell forwards, bending it at almost a right angle. It turns out his ankle and lower leg broke in 12 places. Rather than amputating his foot, doctors inserted nine screws, two plates and a pin. Farming, his main job, was difficult, and the family was dependent on charity for a time while his leg healed. This accident happened in February 2017 and he is just now starting to do farm work again. He had used ladders many times and didn’t think this job was any more dangerous than other jobs.
This tragic accident can remind us of a few safety precautions to take.
Never get complacent
He climbed ladders daily. He did tasks like fixing roofs, buildings and equipment daily. Because he was so familiar with the ladder, he didn’t pay attention to see if anything felt off on the day of his accident. Even if you’ve climbed a ladder a million times, always be careful and pay attention to your surroundings, including how the ladder feels.
Always inspect your ladder
A faulty ladder caused the accident. The ladder gave out, leading to the man’s injuries. If he had inspected the ladder before climbing it, he may have noticed an issue and disposed of the ladder or at least chosen not to climb.
Pay Attention to the Weight Rating
We don’t have any details about the farmer’s weight or the weight rating on his ladder, but it is always important to use a ladder with the correct weight rating. Ladders get a weight rating based on how they perform in tests. If you and your equipment weight more than the ladder is made to hold, you are asking for a problem.
We are glad this man was able to recover and that, while serious, his accident was not as severe as it could have been.
Here are some basic ladder safety rules from a blog post from SafeStart, a company that creates safety training:
Here are a couple of tips from their site:
- Use ladders only for their designed purpose
- Use the right type of ladder for the job
- Read the information on the label and double-check the ladder’s Duty Rating
- Inspect the ladder for any damage
- Delay your plans if you’re dizzy or fatigued
- Make sure the climbing and gripping surfaces are clean and free of oil, grease, and other slip hazards
- Make sure that your shoes are clean of any substances which could cause you to slip
- Use the ladder at a correct angle and make sure it’s secured
- Make sure you use your ladder on firm and level surfaces
- Protect your ladder at the base to prevent people or objects bumping into it
- Maintain three points of contact
- Do not carry objects that could cause loss of balance
Safety guidelines are simple which often results in them getting ignored.
Here’s a great quote from the ladder safety post:
“Ladder safety habits need to be carried everywhere too. Ladders are one of those pieces of equipment that are used at work and at home. Even though the same rules and risks apply both on and off the job, it can be easy to forego or forget workplace procedures when nobody is watching or the perception of risk changes in a more comfortable home environment.”
Take the time to train your employees on how to use their ladders safely.
For more tips, check out this article.
This week is OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week.
OSHA designed Safe + Sound Week to raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs, including management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.
Successful safety and health programs can help manage workplace hazards before they cause a problem. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help energize your safety program. Organizations of any size are invited to participate.
To participate, choose the activities for your workplace. After completing the events, download a certificate and web badge to recognize your organization and your workers.
For more information or ideas on how to participate, visit OSHA’s website.