Reporter: Mad Hatter
Cited for Ladder Safety, Jack is also a Hero
In what could have been a tragic ending, comes a report from OSHA citing Jack-in-the-Beanstalk for ladder safety violations while ironically recognizing him as a hero in bringing down the villainous Giant.
Tom Thumb, the Regional Administrator for OSHA’s Wonderland Region remarked, “It’s fortunate, and perhaps even worth celebrating, that the only one hurt in this incident was the Giant. Jack took a terrible risk using a beanstalk as a ladder.
“The thing is, falls are far too common. It was only a couple weeks ago that our own Alice of Wonderland fell down a rabbit hole.
“This only underscores the importance of not only using a ladder, but choosing the right one for the job and using it safely. Like…Humpty Dumpty, giving absolutely no regard to duty rating…don’t even get me started.”
Yes, this is a far-fetched way to begin a post on the importance of ladder safety and choosing the correct ladder for the job. But, with tales from our childhood exposing the dangers that are present when working above ground level, it seems we might have missed some early lessons.
Statistics on the dangers of falls are quite serious and sobering. OSHA reports falls from ladders as the leading cause of death in the construction industry, with 320 out of 1,008 reported fatalities in 2018 attributed to falls. The fact is it only takes 1 second to hit the ground from a 16-foot fall. Over half of the fatal falls in construction are from heights of less than 25 feet.
It’s almost impossible to see a construction site without a ladder. Ladders are simply standard equipment in this industry.
Choosing the Right Ladder for Your Job
One key component of ladder safety is making sure you have the right ladder for the job. Will you need one that is a self-supporting, straight, or extension ladder? So many options are available – single pole ladders, step ladders, multipurpose ladders, platform (podium) ladders, extension ladders, telescoping ladders and more.
Also critical to your decision are ladder material, duty rating and height.
One of our suppliers, Green Bull Ladders offers some valuable information on ladder rating requirements. Green Bull products meet or exceed the applicable standards and requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Ladder Safety – Know The Basics
In addition to OSHA, many reliable industry resources provide direction on appropriate ladder material and heights as well as duty rating. Some include PROCONSTRUCTION Guide, which offers helpful information on the proper use of extension ladders.
Generally, ladder safety centers on four key areas: the proper ladder style, the proper height, performance – or duty rating, and the right material. Just some of the basics in terms of usage include:
- Check ladders for loose, cracked, or greasy rungs, split side rails and worn shoes. Make sure the run locks are in working order.
- Maintain 3-point contact with the ladder at all times: two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet.
- Allow only one person on the ladder at a time.
- Always face the ladder.
- Keep your balance: don’t pull, lean, stretch or make sudden moves while on the ladder.
- Do not work from the top three rungs of an extension ladder.
- Do not work from the top step of a step ladder.
For further recommendations, including ladder maintenance and training, familiarize yourself with OSHA’s standards.
A final recommendation to keep in mind: do not use a ladder in a horizontal position as a scaffold.
It’s okay to be like Jack and be a hero in doing a job well done. Just be sure to use the right equipment.
We’re able to cover all your site needs for ladders AND scaffolds. Let us know when you have any questions about choosing the right equipment for your job.