Ladders are used in the pipeline construction industry to access pipelines within trench boxes. Insuring safety of the crews, the ladder is properly secured to the cross bars of the trench box. Credit Vesta Construction Websites
Every year 160,000 injuries and 300 deaths occur from ladder-related falls. 81% of worker fall injuries that led to emergency room visits involved a ladder, and the construction industry led all industries in ladder fall injuries. Though they are essential to our work, ladders pose a potential hazard and may result in significant injury or even death. However, it wasn’t until recently that ladder injury prevention awareness became public and intentional in the construction industry. From February 24 – March 30, the American Ladder Institute (ALI) will celebrate the third annual National Ladder Safety Month, and PLH Group will be joining their awareness efforts.
But ladder safety recognition should not end with the day’s work shift. From cleaning gutters to changing a recessed light bulb, appropriate ladder usage is just as crucial at home.
“Since ladder usage is common throughout our days, from our jobsites to our homes, it is easy to become complacent with proper usage. However, it’s crucial we do not. In fact, fatalities from lower level falls— which include those from ladders— are the second-most preventable workplace events, trailing only highway crashes,” said Elsie Bentley, PLH Group’s Vice President of Safety, Health and Environmental. “These are statistics that we want all PLH Group workers to avoid becoming part of. That’s why during National Ladder Safety Month, and continuing throughout the year, we want workers to be especially cognizant of proper ladder usage, including performing ladder inspections and routine maintenance, as well as following appropriate ladder work procedures.”
Talk to your supervisor about proper ladder care and use specific to your job. For general ladder safety information to use at work or home, refer to the OSHA Standard for Portable Ladders or ALI’s five most significant mistakes people make with ladders:
Ladder is not the right size for the job. From step stools to articulated ladders, use only the right ladder for your job. Do not force the usage of the wrong type of ladder for convenience.
Ladder is not on level ground. Clear obstructions from base and top of ladder, and make sure the ladder is secured on firm ground.
Lack of three points of contact. Ensure that two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand are securely on the ladder when climbing up or down.
Overreaching while on a ladder. Keep your center of gravity between the side rails. If the area you are trying to reach shifts your center of gravity from the ladder’s limits, reposition the ladder. A good rule to follow is to always keep your belt buckle within the side rails of the ladder to prevent falling to the side. Ladder stabilizers may also be used to prevent falls.
Missing the last step when climbing down. Face ladder when climbing up or down, and do not skip steps.