Ladder Safety Tips from Moffitt Corporation

Ladders are essential for many of our daily tasks and are common items in our homes, offices, and work sites. Because ladders are so common people assume that they know how to use them properly. We all know what happens when we make assumptions, and this is a good example of a bad assumption. As workplace safety is a top priority for most industrial companies is it crucial that every employee knows and follows ladder safety tips. Safety is important in any job. But more so for jobs that involve having to work at a height or using large machinery. This is why courses are being held, in order to make safety the top priority of every worker. If you want to find out more, be sure to check out sites like www.whsmoreskills.com.au for more information. It is best to be safe than sorry when it comes to your safety. When you work as part of a team, the safety of everyone you work with is important. This is why first aid training is a requirement for staff. You never know what can happen, but it is best to be prepared, so you can deal with any situation you have to face. By looking into specialist training companies like Coast2Coast in London, you’ll understand the importance of being first aid trained and the benefits it will have on yourself and others around you.

According to OSHA and NIOSH, the primary cause of injuries involving ladders is people using them improperly.

Ladder safety tips 1In the workplace, OSHA statistics show that each year there are 36-fatalities and nearly 25,000 recordable injuries involving ladders. In the home, The US Product Safety Commission estimates there are 164,000 ladder-related injuries that result in a trip to the emergency room. From step stools to extension ladders, using ladders is such a common activity that it is easy to forget that a ladder is a tool with inherent risk and associated hazards. The first step in using these ladder safely tips and being aware of the risks.

Top 4 Most Common Causes For Ladder Incidents:

  1. Using a ladder improperly or not using the correct ladder for your task.
  2. Attempting to work from a ladder or carry objects while climbing a ladder.
  3. Not properly inspecting a ladder before using it.
  4. Electrocution

Injuries involving ladders happen because the people are working much higher than an average ladder, right? Not true. Height is not the deciding factor by far. Unfortunately, there are many cases that involve permanent injury, paralysis, and even death resulting from falls less than 6’, and from as little as falling from the first rung of a ladder. The most common injury sustained involving a ladder is a fracture involving legs or arms, followed by head and neck injuries. If you’ve hurt yourself at work you should get in contact with Becker Law Office (https://www.beckerlaw.com/) they were really helpful when my friend hurt himself at work, he got the compensation he deserved.

No one plans to fall. Most of us have thought about what we would do if we did fall, and normally we all think that we will react and be able to grab something or catch ourselves. But the reality is that an average person’s reaction time is half a second. In that half of a second, you will have already fallen 4 feet. Still think you can catch yourself? Don’t count on it.

Case Study

INTRODUCTION

On April 22, 1998, at 2:30 p.m., a 46-year old male sheet metal worker was fatally injured when he fell off an 8-foot step ladder and struck his head on the edge of a metal floor plate. He was installing a fire damper in the end of a sheet metal duct when he fell.

The employer, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor, had been in business for approximately 63 years at the time of the incident. The company had 140 employees with 7 working on site at the time of the incident. The decedent had worked for the company for 1 year and 9 months and had worked at the site of the incident for 3 months. The decedent was a journeyman sheet metal worker.

Company safety responsibilities were defined. The operations manager was responsibile for the company and the general foreman had site responsibility. The company had an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) that contained all of the required elements and a code of safe practices. According to the general foreman, the decedent had hazard training including the use of ladders. Safety meeting documents provided to the CA/FACE investigator verified training. Safety meetings were conducted once a week on Mondays. Once a month the general contractor held a safety meeting for all job site workers.

Prior to the job, a site survey was conducted by the company’s general foreman as well as the other contractors on the job to identify potential hazards.

THE INVESTIGATION

The site of the incident is a four-story hospital to which four stories were being added. The employee was installing the sheet metal duct work.

On the day of the incident, the decedent was adding a fire damper (a fire safety device) to the end of an existing sheet metal duct measuring 12 X 18-inches. To reach the end of the duct, the decedent used an 8-foot, Type I (250 lb. load) step ladder. The end of the duct was 9-feet, 4-inches off the finished floor.

The job required the decedent and two co-workers to place the damper in position. The damper was a slip-fit connection to the existing duct. The fire damper had been attached to the east wall. The job was to bring the existing duct work to the damper. The decedent was on the south side of the damper on his ladder. The second co-worker was on the north side of the damper on another ladder. His ladder was behind the framed wall of the room in which the decedent and third co-worker were working.

The second co-worker had to reach around the metal framing to grab the fire damper and duct work. The third worker was applying pressure to the duct work with a 2X4 to help it make the connection. The decedent was moving up and down several steps of the ladder struggling to make the connection. He was reaching on both sides of the north wall, which was in the framed stage, to try to make the damper slip into the duct.

The third employee stated, after about three tries to make the connection, the decedent had his right foot on the 5th ladder step at the 4-foot, 9-inch level and his left foot on the step above. In the struggle to make the connection, it appeared to the third employee that the decedent may have extended himself out too far or lost his balance. The ladder spun counter clockwise tangling the decedent’s feet in the steps. The decedent fell head first to the concrete floor striking his head on the edge of a metal floor plate which extended approximately three inches above floor level.

The co-workers immediately untangled the decedent’s feet from the ladder and noted that he was seriously injured. The general contractor’s superintendent arrived at the accident site and called 911 on his cellular phone. The hospital’s emergency room doctor received news of the incident and arrived along with city paramedics at the incident within one minute site to treat the decedent. The city fire department paramedics transported the decedent to the hospital emergency room. Construction management had to clear the use of the elevator at the west end of the building so the decedent could be lowered to the emergency room on the first floor.

CAUSE OF DEATH

The death certificate stated the cause of death to be blunt trauma to the head.

SUMMARY

Using this case study as an example is beneficial, not only because it involves a metal contractor installing ductwork components which, at Moffitt Corporation, we can easily relate to, but for the following reasons as well:

  • The investigating party (NIOSH-National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health) confirmed that the Company had put all the required protocols and procedures in place, and were practicing them.
  • This worker fell less than 6’ and was fatally injured. You don’t have to fall far to incur serious or fatal injuries.
  • There were three men working on this task and each of them had the opportunity to step in and possibly prevent this tragedy.

The investigation determined that this worker was not using the ladder correctly in the following manners:

  1. He did not maintain 3-points of contact.
  2. Had his feet on two different steps/rungs reducing the stability of him and the ladder. His lowest foot was just 4’ above the ground.
  3. He was overreaching to the side of the ladder and working from it. This action distributed his body weight outside of the rails of the ladder which further reduced the stability of the ladder and him.

The final conclusion of this investigation was first that a step ladder was not appropriate for this task. The prime contributing behavior was item number 3 from above. Had he not been overreaching to the side of the ladder, this accident would have been avoided.

Sometimes we use the tools we have on hand and try to make do. We convince ourselves that we don’t need to take the time, money, or effort to find the right tool. We all have to take a step back sometimes and realize that it is better to wait than take an unnecessary risk.

Basic Ladder Safety Tips

There are many types of ladders manufactured from different materials with different ratings. The most common are aluminum or fiberglass step ladders and extension ladders. When choosing a ladder, plan your task and make sure you pick the correct type of ladder and height for what you are planning to do.

Finally, before using a ladder always inspect it to make sure all the parts are in good condition. Make sure everything works and that there is no damage.

When setting up your ladder consider the following:

  1. Is this the right ladder for my task?
  2. Have I inspected the ladder?
  3. Is the surface stable that the ladder will be on?
  4. Is there traffic in the area, either human or vehicles?
  5. Have I checked to see if my ladder is secure?
  6. Do I need a spotter?

When climbing a ladder:

  1. Face the ladder at all times.
  2. Always maintain 3-points of contact and keep your body positioned within the rails.
  3. Do not carry items with you as you climb the ladder

COMMON TYPES OF LADDERS

Extension Ladder Step Ladder

Ladder Safety Tips typesLadder Safety Tips

  • Do not climb a ladder if you feel tired or dizzy.
  • Always use a ladder as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Plan your task and choose the right ladder.
  • Always inspect the ladder before using it and check the weight rating. Remember to account for your tools when thinking about the weight.
  • Make sure the ladder is stable before beginning to climb it.
  • Maintain 3-points of contact at all times and do not carry items as you climb the ladder.
  • Never overreach to the side of a ladder and maintain your balance at all times.
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