Safety+Health had an interesting article about ladder safety for vulnerable populations, and I wanted to talk about it here. Results from a study conducted by Safety Science showed that immigrant workers working for small companies are not getting proper ladder safety training, especially when compared to employees working for larger companies.
Here were some of the findings:
- Just 5.9 percent of immigrant workers at small companies received 11 or more hours of initial safety training – 38.2 percent received three to 10 hours and 55.9 percent received two hours or less. For larger companies, those figures were 20 percent, 48.5 percent and 31.5 percent, respectively.
- 61.8 percent of immigrant workers at small companies received two or less hours of monthly training, compared with 42.9 percent at larger companies.
- Supervisors spoke the same language as immigrant workers at 37.5 percent of small companies, compared with 68.9 percent of larger companies.
So, how do we fix this issue?
One of the main problems seems to be a language barrier. Most immigrant workers speak Spanish, so find a bilingual worker who can help you. In your training, incorporate visual aids to make sure the points get across. Make sure you have regular training to help with repetitive safety reminders. If you have workers who speak a language besides Spanish, make sure to get a translator to help.
Everyone’s life is important. Everyone’s safety is important. Help your immigrant workers get home to their families safely by finding ways to make sure they get quality ladder safety training.
An 25-year old employee at a newspaper in Mass fell from a ladder in the pressroom. His fall resulted in serious injuries. The ladder was attached to the side of the printing press. When the employee fell, he injured his head. Due to privacy laws, the employee’s current health status is unknown.
For more details on the accident, visit the newspaper’s website.
We hope this man makes a full recovery. Ladder safety is important, even if the ladder is fixed. Here are a couple of ladder safety tips to help prevent accidents like this one.
- Follow the belt buckle rule. Regardless of the type of ladder you are using, keep your body between the rails. When you lean on a ladder, it throws off the center of gravity, making it easier for you or the ladder (non-fixed ladders) to fall.
- Maintain three points of contact. Maintaining three points of contact makes it less likely that you will lose your balance, especially at the top of the ladder.
- Keep the ladder clean. If anything slippery, wet or greasy gets on the ladder, make sure to clean it up quickly to prevent any slipping from the ladder.
- Choose the right footwear. Make sure your shoes have rubber soles to help you keep your footing while on the ladder.
We never like reading about these ladder accidents, especially because so many of them could be prevented. Follow these ladder safety tips to help prevent ladder accidents.
This week the National Safety Council is focusing on preventing falls for Safety Month. Make sure to visit them to get safety tips to prevent falls, including falls from ladders. I will also be posting and sharing content on my social media channels to help educate people on preventing falls. Also, make sure to check out Little Giant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for safety tips! If you join the conversation, make sure to use the hashtag #No1GetsHurt.
The CDC has an article on its website about a ladder accident. Back in February 2003, a substitute school custodian was changing a light bulb on the back wall of an auditorium state. He had been working alone at 16 feet tall and was able to call 911 on his cell phone. He had been on the second from the top rung . At the time, he suffered pain in his ankles and knees and a broken leg, requiring surgery. Just four days after the fall, he died from a blood clot. According to the medical examiner stated that the victim, the fall and fractures caused the blood clots in both legs.
In the article, the CDC gave a couple of recommendations for preventing accidents like this one.
Recommendations from the CDC:
- Have a safety professional evaluate a situation for risks before a custodian does the custodial work.
- Schools should provide safety training to the custodial staff so they can be safer
- Schools need to have a safety manager as part of the staff to help assess and fix risks
This story is truly a tragedy. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what caused this accident, but I’d like to end this post with a couple of reminders.
- Never stand on the top rung or top cap. It is just too difficult to maintain balance and there is no way to maintain three points of contact. If something causes the worker to lose balance he or she then has nothing to grab onto.
- Maintain three points of contact. Maintaining three points of contact guarantees that if something happens while you are on the ladder, you will have something to grab onto to help you stay safe.
June is Safety Month by the National Safety Council.
National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and at home. On their website, the National Safety Council provides downloadable resources highlighting a different safety topic for each week in June. Here are the topics being focused on this month:
- Week 1: Emergency Preparedness
- Week 2: Wellness
- Week 3: Falls
- Week 4: Driving
Next week, the focus is on falls, and we will be focusing on a how to prevent falls from ladders.
Stay tuned for next week’s details!