A recently released Consumer Product Safety Commission report on ladder safety revealed some eye-opening statistics regarding the frequency and severity of ladder-related incidents in the United States. Every year, thousands of people are injured and hundreds are killed in ladder-related incidents. Determining the root cause of these incidents can lead to the prevention of the majority of injuries and deaths.
Some compelling statistics include:
- More than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries per year.
- Elevated falls account for almost 700 occupational deaths annually.
- Over the last 10 years, the amount of ladder-related injuries has increased by 50 percent.
- 50 percent of ladder-related incidents were due to individuals carrying items as they climbed a ladder.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration believes 100 percent of all ladder incidents could be prevented if proper attention to equipment and climber training were provided. Employers and their staff are encouraged to follow safety guidelines and implement a ladder policy to prevent ladder-related incidents.
The following are several safety measures to keep in mind for ladder use:
- Never stand on the top 3 rungs. Paint the 3rd rung from the top red as a reminder.
- Keep belt buckle, tool bag or picking bag centered between outer rails of the ladder and do not overreach while working.
- Place the base of a straight ladder out away from the wall or edge about one foot for every four feet of vertical height.
- Be sure the side rails extend at least 36 inches above the landing.
- For orchard ladders, place the 3rd leg outward, far enough so the steps are level and the 3rd leg is centered between the two side rails.
For ladder safety awareness, review your company’s ladder policy and ladder use guidelines with all workers utilizing this tool. Also, ensure that all workers follow safe work practices while performing their duties through periodic audits and observations.
For questions, contact Hilario Garcia, Loss Control Consultant at Western Growers Insurance Services at (559) 650-7520.