Falls from ladders are a leading cause of workplace fatalities in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control statistics published in 2014, 43% of fatal falls in the last decade involved ladders. Additionally, ladder use contributed to 20% of non-fatal injuries among the nation's workers. It's not surprising to learn that the leading occupation impacted by ladder falls is construction. However, the industry following close behind is “Installation, Maintenance and Repair” operations.
Nearly every business in America includes some level of “Installation, Maintenance or Repair” activity in order to ensure productive and efficient processes. Whether your industry is Healthcare, Hospitality, Manufacturing, or Construction--- Everyone uses ladders!
To prevent ladder use injuries, employers should consider the following safe-use practices:
Inspect the ladder before each use and include ladders in general site safety inspection routines. Any damaged ladders should be tagged and removed from service immediately.
Are all rungs and steps intact and in good condition?
Are steps clean and free of grease/oil?
Are support braces, rivets, bolts, and screws in place and secured?
Are sharp edges or splinters removed?
Are ropes on extension ladders in good condition (no fraying)?
Are spreaders and other locking devices in good condition and adequately secured?
Are safety feet in place?
Ladders come in all shapes and sizes, and different work environments require certain ladder types. Choose the right ladder for the job!
MEMIC Safety Management Consultant Tonya Hawker is a seasoned health and safety professional with more than 24 years of experience in risk management application. Her goal is to partner with MEMIC clients to identify hazards and develop appropriate solutions that control, reduce or eliminate the risks that lead to loss of valuable company resources.
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