Ten Tips for a Perfect Fit
Why Does the General Contractor Bug Me about Safety?

Just One Rung Away

One of my fellow Mainers had a favorite saying about safety meeting subjects. He'd say, "If you can't come up with a topic, grab a ladder and cover what's written on the side." And, if you have ever looked at the side of a ladder, there is quite a bit of information written there. However, eight times out of 10 someone in the audience would say, "Are you saying we have to train them on how to use a ladder?"—which brought on a brief dissertation of why.

So, why train on ladder use? Some of the very basic reasons are:

  • A ladder allows you to gain elevation. In a sense, how high you are multiplied by how you land divided by what you land on equals the extent of injury. Since falls are the number one killer in construction, this should be reason enough.
  • Ladders allow you to get into close proximity of electrical lines and associated circuits. Since this is the number two killer...well, you get the drift.
  • Ladders can slip and fall. Gravity wants to pull them down and people and vehicle traffic bump into them accidentally.  Knowing when to secure a ladder at the top and the four-to-one ratio (positioning ladder one foot from the wall for every four feet of height) is not common knowledge to new employees no matter what the industry.

Many employers cover this ground at orientation simply because of the frequency of exposure. These same outfits usually review it once or twice a year to remind their people that they may be just one rung away from a painful event or much worse. Unfortunately, some workplaces don't take the time to do this very basic training at all.  And even though good information is written right there on the side of a ladder, even more ladder safety can be found at:

Comments

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Dan

Paul, you make the post fun to read....and it is something that can easily be used on any construction or industrial site. Thanks.

Q: Are there different standards for metal, vs, aluminum, vs, wooded ladders?

Tom

This is a great topic.

No matter how many times it is covered we continue to see violations of the many stickers on the ladders, and the requirements of 1926.1053.

That is why OSHA found it necessary to add Retraining to their training requirements. As stated in 1926.1060(b) Retraining shall be provided for each employee as necessary so that the employee maintains the understanding and knowledge aquired through compliance with this section.

In other words, if employees are not using ladders properly, retrain them. If the misuse continues, they should be moved to a less hazardous task within the company, or with another employer

Paul Caret

In answer to the above question about standards, there is one particular OSHA standard which is 1926.1053 [b] [12] that basically states "nonconductive side rails if the ladder could contact energized electrical equipment". There is also obviously a lot of manufacturers information on the ladder and in the product information shipped with the ladder.

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