Tag Archives: falling

When Elevated, Fall in Line with Safety

Fall SafetyWhile millions of people go to work inside buildings that can be hundreds of feet tall, there are countless others who work on top or along the outer walls of those buildings. They are the window washers, the construction workers, and the roofers, who make working in these buildings possible.

More than 14% of all fatal work injuries in 2011 were caused by falls, slips, or trips from elevated areas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Falls are among the most common causes of serious work-related injuries and deaths in the United States. If you work on roofs, ladders, scaffolding, or any other place that is off the ground, here are ways you can keep yourself safe.

The Roof! The Roof! The Roof is on Securely!
Most falling injuries reported are in the construction industry. That’s why it’s important to always wear a properly fitted harness. Keep it connected and inspect harnesses before working on the roof of any building.

Guardrails or toe boards should be present when working around holes or skylines. Even if you aren’t on a roof, rails are important to keeping workers from falling into machinery or hazardous substances even if they are only a few feet above the ground.
If none of these safety measures are available, do not get on the roof until they are provided.

Ladder Disaster
There’s a lot that goes into ladder safety like choosing the correct placement, securing, and facing the ladder. But you can greatly reduce your chances of falling off a ladder by planning ahead. Work with your supervisor to determine which type of equipment should be provided, the best places to put the ladder, and how to share that information with the rest of your co-workers. Avoiding injury can be contagious if others see you following the rules.

Don’t Scoff the Scaffold
Just like equipment used on roofs, scaffolds should always be inspected to make sure they are level, stable, and fully planked. The guardrails should be completed along the entire edge of the scaffolds and should always have an easily accessed area to properly climb one. If there is no defined entrance, workers may begin to climb the cross braces, which are meant to evenly support the beams, not directly support bodyweight.

Scaffolds should always be the correct height needed for you to do your job. If something isn’t high enough, contact your manager or project lead. You shouldn’t have to risk more injury by standing on the guardrails or placing a ladder on top of the scaffolds to reach a high point.
Working high above the ground is a necessity. Some of the hardest working people put themselves at risk every day to make sure the job gets done. If you follow these safety guidelines, you’ll be able to complete jobs successfully throughout your career

Safety Matters When Climbing Ladders

safety matters when climbing laddersThere’s a common saying among professionals about “climbing the corporate ladder,” but there are hundreds of thousands of workers who climb real ladders as a profession every day. There’s also a common superstition that walking under a ladder will bring seven years of bad luck, but in reality, there are more than 500,000 people treated in emergency rooms and nearly 300 deaths relating to ladder use every year, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Just like climbing them, proper safety and use of ladders is taken one step at a time. In order to keep you out of the emergency room and on the job, here are some steps you can take when working with ladders.

Check Before Climbing
Before climbing any ladder, thoroughly inspect it for anything that could be damaged, broken, or bent. Also, make sure it’s clean and free from mud, oil, or other slippery substances. When climbing ladders 6 feet or higher, the smallest slip could be fatal.

Also be knowledgeable about which ladder to use when working a job. Your employer should have training on proper use and maintenance of the types of ladders needed. There are also external resources you can use to gain a better knowledge on the different types of ladders out there.

Power of the Pyramid
One of the best ways to avoid falling off your ladder is to keep your hands and feet in a pyramid or triangular shape.  When facing the ladder, have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder. The ladder is less likely to become unstable should you slip during the climb using this technique. Just remember not to carry any objects in your hands that can interfere with a firm grip on the ladder. Otherwise, you can’t properly keep hold of the ladder if a hand or foot slips.

It’s All About Location, Location, Location
The placement of where you and your ladder are can mean the difference between a day at work and a day in the hospital. Depending on what kind of ladder you’re using, there are proper ways to place your ladder so it can be as sturdy as possible. No matter what ladder you’re using, make sure it’s placed on a flat, even surface and not on top of any objects.

If using a single or extension ladder, use the 4:1 ratio when leaning on a surface. 4:1 means placing the base of the ladder one foot away from whatever it leans against for every four feet of height to the point where the ladder contacts at the top. If using a trestle ladder, climb as high as indicated on the ladder. Avoid placing anything on the top ledge of the ladder because you don’t want anything falling off and hurting those around you.

You should also be mindful of the placement of your ladder. Make sure you’re away from power lines, insect or bird nests, closed doors, or strong wind. If you have to work near these conditions, make sure your ladder is made of the right material. For example, if you’re working near power lines, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder since metal conducts electricity.

Using a ladder is much safer than trying to stand on stacked objects, chairs, or shelves, but the added safety shouldn’t be disregarded by misuse. When you’re safe, you’re more productive. If you fall off a ladder, you might face something worse than seven years of bad luck.