True Stories

Ladders and Doors and Safety Training

A few weeks ago, I read the following story of about a worker in Canada who had sustained serious injuries in a fall when the stepladder he was climbing, which he had placed in front of a door, was struck by the door, causing him to fall to the concrete floor. One of those rules everyone knows, right? Well, that’s the mistake we make far too often. We think our people should know not to put a ladder in front of a door because it’s common sense. But if we haven’t trained our people properly to never put a ladder in front a door, we can and will be found responsible.

Saskatoon’s Kramer Ltd. fined $34K over ladder accident

Company violated 3 OH&S rules

CBC News

A Saskatoon company whose worker was seriously injured after being knocked off a ladder has been fined $33,600.

On Dec. 11, Kramer Ltd., of Saskatoon, was found guilty of three charges under Occupational Health and Safety legislation, the provincial government said in a news release.

The charges include failing to ensure workers were trained in health or safety measures, failing to ensure work was properly supervised and failing to ensure the worker’s safety.

The incident happened on March 26, 2010 at a work site in Saskatoon.

A worker climbed a stepladder to fix an overhead door guard that had been bent, the province said. While this was being done, the door hit the ladder and the worker fell to the concrete floor, sustaining serious injuries.


The worker’s company, Kramer Ltd., was fined $33,600 for failing to properly train workers in safety measures, in this case, ladder safety measures.

Ladder safety training takes time, and sometimes it may feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle. But there are resources out there. In my opinion, the American Ladder Institute’s free online ladder safety training modules are the best online training you can find. All you have to do is register as a Training Manager and register your employees by uploading a list. Once you have them in the system, you can track their progress through each module; and upon completion, you can print out a certificate for each employee. Check it out

Look Up!

We talk a lot about catastrophic falls on the hub, because they are the stories you hear about the most when it comes to severe ladder injuries. But we can’t forget to teach our people about the hazards they face before they ever step on a ladder. For example, the following story:

OMAHA, Neb. —A man is critically hurt after the ladder he was holding made contact with a live power line.

Emergency crews were called to an apartment building near 108th and Blondo for a report that a man had possibly been electrocuted around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Witnesses said a couple of men were working on gutters on the building and their ladder fell backward, making contact with a live electric line.

“I turned around and saw a flash, and I saw a ladder that was on the wire and it was kind of sliding along the wire,” said Chris Schnase, a witness.
Officials said 8,000 volts of electricity were going from the line, through the ladder and through the man holding it on the ground.

“It was very scary to see, very scary. He was kind of shaking at first, then hardly not moving at all,” Schnase said.

Medics took the victim, identified by family as Pedro Armendariz, 26, to Alegent Creighton Health Creighton University Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition.

Crews worked to secure the live wire. Witnesses said the line normally hangs 7 to 10 feet from the apartment building.

Read more:

When you’re out there training your people, please remember to teach them to look up and be aware of overhead power lines! If the line is too close, don’t put the ladder there, or secure the top of the ladder so there’s no way it to tip or slide into a live line. Falls aren’t the only avoidable hazards. Be safe!


Make sure your ladder is visible to others!

This is a classic (and tragic) example of why it’s important to make sure your ladder is visible in all conditions. Especially if you’re working in high-traffic areas or at night.

I have heard several stories where a ladder operator does everything right, and someone else runs into his or her ladder and causes an accident. Sometimes these stories have a happy result and others end in life-altering or fatal accidents. These kinds of incidents are especially common in the utility, telecom, and cable/satellite TV industries.

Choosing a brightly colored ladder and enhancing visibility with reflective labels may literally save your life!

Grandma stabbed by a stepladder! Another reason to throw away old ladders

Thank heavens she’s all right!



Gran hurt in freak accident with ladder

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Western Gazette – North Dorset

AN 82-year-old grandmother suffered a stab wound and severe bleeding when she became trapped in an old-fashioned step ladder on Saturday.

Ruth Robinson, of Stoke sub Hamdon, has described her “nightmare” ordeal after becoming wedged in the steps while hanging curtains in her home on Queens Crescent.

The octogenarian had to call an ambulance herself while trapped in the device, after her husband Gerald, who struggles to speak and walk after having a stroke 20 years ago, managed to bring her the telephone.

Mrs Robinson narrowly avoided further injuries with the help of neighbour and Yeovil town crier, Bruce Trigger, who rushed to the scene after Mr Robinson hobbled up the road to fetch help.

She said: “The ladder had a platform and I fell right through it. I felt something stab me in the tummy and there was blood everywhere coming from my leg.

“I was wedged in the frame, screaming the house down.

“A piece of the broken ladder had stabbed me in my middle. Bruce had to lift me up to stop the shard digging in any further. He held me up for about 10 minutes until the ambulance arrived.”

Mr Trigger said: “I could see Ruth was in absolute agony and I did what any good neighbour would do.

“They said if I hadn’t been there, the ladder would have dug in and damaged her vital organs. When the emergency services took over, I left so I wasn’t in the way.

“I had to open the church fete in Montacute that afternoon.”

Firefighters cut Mrs Robinson free within three minutes using a saw.

She said: “I was just in so much pain and getting dizzier and dizzier.

“I heard a man ask the person holding me up, “have you got her? When I cut this last bit she’s going to drop”.

“When I felt myself falling free of the ladder it was such a relief. I felt a further flood of relief when they laid me down on the stretcher.”

Emergency services had to move Mrs Robinson out of her bungalow through her bedroom window, because the stretcher could not get around the corners of her hallway to the front door. She was admitted to Yeovil District Hospital where she was put under general anaesthetic for the first time in her life.

She suffered a wound to her calf, a long scrape up her leg as well as a 10 inch laceration and a stab wound to her stomach.

Mrs Robinson wants to warn others of the perils of using step ladders in the house.

She said: “It was an absolute nightmare. Anyone who is the slightest bit at risk should not use these stepladders.”

Her daughter, Lynn Armfield said: “This ladder could have been around since the 1960s.

“If I had had any idea it was in the house I would have got rid of it.”

The ladder has now been burnt.

Read more:

A power line touching a branch can be just as deadly

The story below is a good reminder. You may do all the right things to prevent your ladder from touching a power line, and still be in danger.

A man cutting tree branches was air lifted to a trauma center after making contact with power lines.

His condition was unknown late Saturday.

Cape Coral Fire Department personnel responded to the emergency at 5:34 p.m. at 1034 Dolphin Drive.

A male patient was on a ladder cutting branches from a palm tree to which he secured himself to with a safety harness, when a branch made contact with a power line, officials said.

First arriving Fire Department personnel found him unconscious and unresponsive, hanging from the tree. After assuring there was no further contact with the electric line, they secured a safety line around the patient and his ladder to prevent a fall or further injury.

The second arriving Fire Department Unit was Ladder 1 and they quickly set up and placed the aerial ladder in a position for rescue and sent additional personnel up to assist.

Lee County Electric Cooperative also dispatched a boom truck that arrived and provided further assistance. Once the patient was safely removed Lee County Emergency Services provided patient care and called for air transport to the local trauma center.

A third Fire Department Engine Company responded to set up and secure a safe landing zone.

The Cape Coral Fire Department responded to approximately four similar call types in the last year, officials said.

Source: Cape Coral Fire Department


Construction worker injured in fall from ladder

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has been called in to investigate an industrial accident in the west end that left a 22-year-old man with serious injuries.

Paramedics were called to the scene on Antares Drive just before 9:20 this morning after receiving a report that the man, who was renovating a building fell 5 metres off a ladder.

The worker was removing a large garage door when the incident took place.

He suffered a broken arm and lacerations to his face, arms and legs.

Paramedics say he was conscious when he was taken to the hospital, where he is listed in serious, but stable condition.

Source: 580 CFRA News Talk Radio

Freak accident: Teenage boy left hanging in an Edinburgh garage between ‘five and ten minutes’ after getting tangled in rope

The 13-year-old was discovered with his neck tangled in a rope after he fell from a ladder at the family home in the Gilmerton area of Edinburgh.

A teenage boy remains in a serious condition after a freak accident left him hanging in a garage between “five and ten minutes”, it was revealed.

The 13-year-old was discovered with his neck tangled in a rope after he fell from a ladder at the family home in the Gilmerton area of Edinburgh.

Police and a rapid response ambulance rushed to the scene after receiving an emergency call soon after 1pm on Sunday.

The boy remains in a serious condition at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI) where doctors are checking whether he suffered any brain injuries while being starved of oxygen.

His grandmother said he was “going to be OK” and is breathing on his own.

The boy’s sister, who raised the alarm after finding him, said he was using a ladder to retrieve some wire stored on a garage shelf which he needed for a school trip.

It is understood he then slipped on the ladder while over-reaching and became caught in a rope on Sunday afternoon.

His sister said she believes he may have been hanging in the garage for between “five and ten minutes” when she found him.

It is believed the family thought the boy had gone to visit his grandmother’s house nearby when they found him.

Two doctors who live next door rushed to treat the teen while emergency services were called.

Both the boy’s parents have been keeping vigil at their son’s hospital bedside since he was injured in the freak accident.

A relative said: “He is going to be OK. He will be fine. It was an accident and he is getting better.”

Another family member said: “He was standing on a small ladder and reaching up to get some wire for his school trip.

“He fell and the rope became tangled round his neck. It wasn’t tight when I found him, it was a bit loose.

“I think he had been there for about five to ten minutes. The doctors from next door came to help him.”

“His lungs are working so he can breathe. Now the doctors need to check if he has any injury to his brain.”

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “The house next door has two doctors in and it was about lunchtime on Sunday when I had my grandchildren over and my husband said something had happened.

“It was only later in the evening that one of the other neighbours said there had been an accident.

“The two doctors were speaking to most of the family because the grandmother lives further up the street.

“They are a close-knit family and quite private, but they’ve been here 12 to 13 years because he was just a baby when they moved in. Everyone’s thinking about them.”

Police are trying to discover exactly what happened but said there were no suspicious circumstances.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland can confirm that it responded to a call regarding concerns for a resident in The Murrays in the south of Edinburgh at around 1.15pm on Sunday 15th June.

“Officers attended at the address and a 13 year old boy was taken to hospital where he is in a serious but stable condition.

“Enquiries are continuing and there is no further information at this time.”

Source: The Daily Record

Firm fines after worker seriously injured in four metre fall

A 23-year-old worker was left seriously injured after falling more than four metres from a ladder while installing audio visual equipment at a North Yorkshire school, a court has heard.

Lee Rutherford, from Durham, suffered fractures to his lower right leg and upper right arm, and a shattered elbow as a result of the fall at Filey Junior School on 21 June 2013. He required reconstructive surgery and also developed serious side-effects in his left shoulder as a result of his treatment. .

His employer, Peterborough-based Hedley Solutions Ltd, was prosecuted today (20 June) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation identified safety failings.

Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Rutherford was installing audio visual equipment at the school with a colleague, and was using a set of combination ladders to enable him to work at height.

The ladders were being used as an extension ladder, positioned against an internal wall of the school hall, so that he could feed an IT cable through to a loft area. for his colleague.

While working at the top of the ladder, it slipped and he fell around four and a half metres to the floor.

HSE found that the ladders had not been secured and there was no effective anti-slip device or any other measure in use to provide stability.

It was also found that the work had not been properly assessed or planned by Hedley Solutions Ltd. If a proper assessment had been carried out, the risks would have been identified and more suitable access equipment, such as a tower scaffold or mobile elevated working platform, could have been used.

Hedley Solutions Ltd, of Millenium House, Dukesmead Werrington, Peterborough, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,296 in costs after admitting a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, Lee Rutherford said:

“I still get a lot of pain in my arm, there’s a lot of scarring from where I had to have surgery and skin grafts to rebuild my arm and I don’t have the same amount of movement as I used to.

“I have managed to go back to work, though I’m no longer with Hedley, but things are not the same as they were.

“No-one will ever understand how a fall from a ladder will affect the rest of their life. The constant pain and lack of movement I now have has affected me in so many ways. You need to stop and think before using an extension ladder – always think of yourself first.”

HSE Inspector Victoria Wise added:

“The height of the ceiling in the hall at Filey Junior School was around five metres and the consequences of a fall from this height onto a wooden floor could have been fatal. As it was this young man suffered serious injuries from which he is still recovering.

“The real tragedy is that it could so easily have been avoided if Hedley Solutions Ltd had properly assessed and planned the work in advance. An assessment of the risks would have shown that due to the length of the task, the distance and consequences of a potential fall, and the work required, ladders were not appropriate and an alternative means of access could have been provided.

“Falling from height remains one of the biggest causes of death and major injury in the workplace. It is crucial that employers properly assess and plan any task that involves working from height and use the most appropriate work equipment which prevents a fall occurring. There is a wide selection of work equipment available that is designed specially for work at height and there is no excuse for putting workers at unnecessary risk of serious injury, or even death.”

Free guidance and information on safe working at height is available at

Source: Health and Safety Executive

Man trimming tree in Central El Paso falls off ladder, dies

EL PASO, Texas – A man working on a tree in central El Paso fell about 30 feet off a ladder and died from his injuries Thursday, police said.

The incident happened at Justus Street and Fort Boulevard.

A man who lives across the street from where the accident happened said he wasn’t home, but his mother’s caregiver was.

“She saw this guy working on the tree (fall), then hit the truck first, then hit the ground,” Garcia said.

Neighbors said the man was Hispanic and in his 50s, and; they rushed over to render aid.

“She just told me, she was just there for about five to 10 minutes, and he was still alive, but she thought he wasn’t going to make it because he looked pretty bad, he was turning purple,” Garcia said.

Police told KFOX14 the man was taken to University Medical Center and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

KFOX 14 called Bishop’s Palm Tree Trimmin’, the company the man worked for.

The owner said his employee didn’t fasten the safety chain on the bucket at the top of the ladder.

He said he’s known the man for 35 years and doesn’t know how he will continue on.

“It makes you sad, it’s an accident,” Garcia said.

Source: KFox14

‘Tragic accident’ of Hailsham man who died after ladder fall

Yusuf Hossany, 62, of Chestnut Close, The Lowlands, Hailsham, died on Sunday December 15 2013 at Royal London Hospital following the accident the previous day.

Mr Hossany, a mechanic, fell from a ladder while decorating the garage in Hailsham where he worked, an inquest has heard.

A statement from his family after the inquest paid tribute to a ‘loving and generous husband, dad and grandpa’ they would never forget.

The inquest, held in Eastbourne on Thursday June 26, was told that Mr Hossany was found unconscious at the bottom of a ladder after a 15 to 20 foot drop onto the concrete floor.

His daughter’s fiance, Rob Humphreys, who was helping Mr Hossany decorate the MOT garage, was in the building’s office when he heard a ‘crashing sound’, the inquest was told.

In a statement, Mr Humphreys said Mr Hossany was in his usual good spirits on the day of the accident.

Mr Humphreys opened the office door to check he was okay, but found him lying on the floor next to a ladder.

He said: “Yusuf was always busy doing something, he was so active.

“He was trying to fix the skylights, to block them off and make the building more secure.”

Mr Hossany’s son added: “He was very experienced with doing DIY and he would have secured the ladder as best he could.”

Dr Alison Grimston, Mr Hossany’s GP at Hailsham Medical Group, explained Mr Hossany had previously suffered from daytime sleepiness, but there was no evidence of him suffering from further symptoms after 2007.

She said: “He was experiencing daytime sleepiness with some snoring.

“He tended to fall asleep if he sat down, but it never occurred while he was driving.

“There is no evidence it was any danger to him and there is nothing to suggest he would have fallen asleep when he was focused on something as he was on the day he fell.”

Dr Grimston added he was ‘perfectly happy and very fit’.

A post mortem found the cause of death to be a subdural haemorrhage.

Alan Craze, senior coroner for East Sussex, said: “This is a straightforward tragic accident, possibly triggered by a balance issue.

“I will come to a conclusion of accidental death.”

Source: Sussex Express

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