Each year, half a million people are injured in ladder-related accidents, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, with an average of 300 of those incidents being fatal.
What’s frustrating is that an incredible number of these accidents and deaths could be prevented.
So, why do so many of these accidents occur?
Typically it’s the combination of:
- Workers doing tasks they’d normally not do (for example, hang lighting, test smoke alarms, etc.)
- A careless approach to ladder safety
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize your risk of injury when handling a ladder. Here X tips for ladder safety:
- Inspect your ladder for defects. Look for cracks, corrosion or insecure bolts and rivets. Tag unsafe ladders and remove them from service.
- Inspect the feet of your ladder. Ensure it has slip-resistant pads.
- If you are working with electricity, use a fiberglass ladder.
- When setting your ladder, look for a location with level footing and rigid support for the top of the ladder.
- Always use three points of contact when climbing a ladder – one hand and both feet (or both hands and one foot) in contact with the ladder at all times.
- Never carry loads that may cause you to lose balance.
- Do not stand on top of the ladder.
- Don’t make sudden moves when on a ladder.
- Avoid setting the ladder near exit doors or in the path of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
Do you really need a ladder for that project?
There is no question that ladders are a staple item of most homes and businesses. Ladders can be used for a wide variety of tasks and projects.
However, because ladder safety has long been an issue, many new tools and equipment have been invented that minimize your need to use a ladder.
Take, for example, the TESS® Tool. TESS (Testing Emergency Safety Systems) is designed to allow you to test or reset hard-to-reach safety systems like alarms, detectors, gauges, and controllers.
With the ability to extend to 50 feet, TESS all but eliminates the need to climb ladders to perform routine checks around your office. See it in action now:
When ladder-related injuries don’t involve climbing a ladder
When you think of ladder-related injuries, it’s almost certain you think of someone falling off. But that’s not the only type of injury sustained when a ladder is in use.
Each year, countless people suffer sprains and strains due to lifting and transporting ladders. In fact, it’s more common than you think for an injury to occur when someone is accidentally struck by a ladder while in transport.
Whenever possible, you should aim to minimize how much you have to lift and maneuver your ladder. A tool like the Ladder Safety Station can greatly reduce your risk of injuries while also saving space in your storage area.
The importance of training people in ladder safety
The ladder is one of the most basic tools you can use – even more straightforward than a drill! But its simplicity is very likely why so many people get injured each year – they take for granted how dangerous a tool it can be.
Before anyone in your workplace uses a ladder, make sure they are properly trained on what to do (and avoid) during operation. OSHA has created a handy PDF to help you. We also recommend displaying safety awareness posters in your workplace, which are proven to reduce injuries and promote safety training.
You can call attention to your safety posters by mounting them in a display board such as this one.
If you or one of your employees needs to use a ladder, make sure the proper steps are in place. Yes, it’s true, ladders can be easy to operate.
But they can also be fatal.