The American Ladder Institute (ALI) is sponsoring its seventh annual National Ladder Safety Month to raise awareness of ladder safety and to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities both at home and in the workplace. As I mentioned in a recent blog, violations related to improper ladder use were number 4 on OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standards list for fiscal year 2022.
In addition to the high number of OSHA violations (2,143 in fiscal year 2022), every year there are more than 300 fatalities due to ladder-related accidents and thousands of debilitating injuries. On average, 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries each year! ALI believes ladder accidents are preventable with better safety planning and training as well as continuous innovation in product design.
The goals of National Ladder Safety Month are to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities; raise awareness of ladder safety, increase the number of people certified in ladder safety training; and lower the ranking of ladder-related safety violations on OSHA’s top 10 list.
The focus of this year’s National Ladder Safety Month is on:
- Choosing Your Ladder: One of the most common mistakes made by ladder users is choosing the wrong ladder for the job. Some things to consider include the work environment (e.g., the work surface, potential sources of electricity, and climbing obstructions); appropriate ladder length; and the total amount of weight the ladder will support (AKA Duty Rating).
- Safety Before the First Step: Before using the ladder, thoroughly inspect it to ensure it’s in good working condition including rails, steps and rungs, and locks and spreader braces. Ladder feet and climbing and gripper surfaces should be cleaned. Always read the safety information label(s) on the ladder!
- Safety While Climbing: Practice safe climbing by being attentive to what you are doing and your surroundings, and climb slowly and deliberately while avoiding sudden movements. Use towlines, a tool belt, or an assistant to convey materials so that your hands are free when climbing. Never attempt to move a ladder while standing on it!
- Safety at the Top: While working on the ladder, don’t stand on the top step or top cap. If you need to, you’re probably using the wrong size ladder! Maintain three points of contact with the ladder and don’t overreach. Always keep the center of your stomach between the ladder side rails.
For additional information on Ladder Safety Month, or for assistance with improving ladder safety compliance in your workplace, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was written by Beth Graham, Safety Partners’ Director of Quality, Research, and Training.