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NSC and the Hyperlite™

I’m at NSC this week, hanging out in Booth 2407. Yesterday, Little Giant officially launch the HyperLite and HyperLite SumoStance®.

Here’s a little bit about the ladders from Little Giant’s product anouncement:

“The Little Giant HyperLite, in patent-pending Hi-Viz green, is the lightest Type IA and IAA fiberglass extension ladder in the world, weighing up to 40 percent less than ordinary fiberglass ladders, without sacrificing strength or stability.”

HyperLite Feet HyperLite M16 CableHooks, Vrung, Claw









“The HyperLite SumoStance, also in Hi-Viz green, is the winner of Occupational Health & Safety magazine’s New Product of the Year Award for Fall Protection/Fall Prevention. The HyperLite SumoStance delivers safety to working professionals by tripling the base width and by increasing side-tip stability. This new category of extension ladders work on nearly any uneven surface while still weighing less than ordinary fiberglass extension ladders.”

HyperLiteSumo Levelers CloseUp


HyperLite BubbleLevel







I am super excited about these two new products. If you are at NSC this week, make sure to stop by our booth to say hi!


Speaking at NSC

National Safety Congress & Expo is coming up fast! It starts this weekend in Indianapolis and goes into next week. I will be there, as well as some of my Little Giant colleagues. On Monday, we will be at our booth, Booth #2407, where we will be officially launching one of our brand new products!

On Tuesday at 3:30 I will be speaking on a panel with five other people. It is Workshop #82. The topic is “Ladder Injuries are Increasing: How to Buck the Trend.” If you want some great tips, stop by to hear our panel!

For updates, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@laddersafetyguy). Little Giant Ladders will also be posting updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Will you be at NSC this year? Make sure to stop by and say hi.

Here are a couple of throwback pictures from NSC a couple of years ago:

IMG_5370 photo1

Static vs. Kinetic Testing


This is not ladder safety

This is not ladder safety

Ladders go through numerous safety tests, but these tests have their shortcomings.

The Test Lab

All official testing and certification methodologies, including ANSI, EN-131, CSA, NZ-AUS, and MIL, are performed with motionless, static weights that exert force in only one direction. These tests are performed in a controlled environment with perfect conditions, on flat level ground, with no external factors, usually in a testing lab. Each test is designed to determine the strength of certain areas of the ladder and requires a test load of up to 4 times the rating of the ladder. All Little Giant products meet or exceed these requirements.

Ladders in the Real World

Static force gauges do not have families waiting for them to come home at the end of the day. If people remained perfectly motionless on a ladder, they might be safe but they wouldn’t get much done. Static weights do not make decisions, good or bad. People sometimes take risks or get distracted or startled. Job sites are notorious for uneven, pitted, and unstable ground.

Operators Don’t Follow the Instructions

Understanding these differences, Little Giant has studied the way people actually use their ladders and designed around or against human behavior. It’s human nature to overreach, or to use the closest ladder, even if it’s the wrong kind; or to stand on the top rung or top cap instead of finding a taller stepladder. Even with the best training, we know operators will cut corners to save time and energy.

The Human Body Is Not Static

Ordinary ladders are not designed to keep an operator from falling, but simply to counteract the vertical force of gravity and elevate the operator above the ground. But every move an operator makes exerts forces on the ladder that it is not designed to take. Simple actions like stepping off an extension ladder to a roof or shifting your weight can destabilize an ordinary ladder. Involuntary responses like swatting at a bee or reaching out to catch a falling tool also exert lateral forces that can destabilize a ladder.

Responsible Design

For decades ordinary ladder manufacturers have known about the inherent safety risks of their products and done nothing. Isn’t it ironic that basically every piece of heavy equipment you see on a jobsite has outriggers or stabilizers to prevent kinetic forces from destabilizing it. Yet, we send unprotected operators dozens of feet in the air on ordinary ladders that are no wider than they are. Some of the most catastrophic, fatal accidents occur because ordinary ladders have this inherent risk built into their design.

One ladder company actually attempts to profit from these design flaws by marketing fall-arrest equipment to protect operators when they fall from their own inherently unsafe ladders. Little Giant would rather focus on designing ladders that prevent the fall in the first place.


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.

Self-Employed Man Suffers Fatal Injury

imgID52404521.jpg-pwrt3A man in England was working on a ladder outside  a house when he fell. He was brought to the hospital where he died eight days after the accident.

The accident happened when the ladder slipped, knocking him to the ground.

Unfortunately, this accident could have been prevented, and this man’s life could have been saved.

If the ladder had been at the correct angle and if he had had someone to hold thee base, the ladder would not have slipped and the man would most likely still be alive.

Often, we don’t realize how important that correct angle is. A ladder should be set up at a 75.5 degree angle. There are two easy ways to check the angle. The first is to download the ladder app from NIOSH and follow the instructions for proper ladder set up. The second is to follow the “Four-to-one ratio rule.” The ladder should be one foot away from the wall for every four feet of ladder. So, if the ladder is 16 feet tall, it should be four feet away from the wall.

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