What Contractors Should Know About Ladder Safety
Falls are a persistent source of injury in many occupations and the number one cause of construction-worker fatalities, yet ladder falls are preventable. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), yearly, more than 500,000 ladder-related injuries and around 300 fatalities occur. Furthermore, ladder falls costs the United States billions a year due to expenses associated with work loss as well as medical and legal expenses. This is why ladder safety is critical for roofers. We’ll give some ladder safety tips for roofers below.
Why Accidents Happen
Ladder accidents typically occur because workers are not trained on the proper use of ladders. Furthermore, even when trained, some workers refuse to follow guidelines. In short, some roofers take using ladders for granted. This comes in the form of using damaged ladders, wearing the wrong footwear, and failing to ensure ladders are stabilized, just to name a few.
Guidelines for Ladder Safety
The OSHA Construction Standard Subpart X (1926.1053) specifically covers the regulations for ladders. In this section, roofers will find guidelines for things such as storing ladders, inspection, load support, and the spacing of rungs. Under these standards, employers are required to provide training for every employee who will use a ladder on the job.
Tips for Avoiding Accidents
It’s unfortunate that so many ladder accidents happen in the roofing industry, but the following tips are just a few ways ladder accidents and deaths can be reduced.
Tip 1: Ladder inspection is critical especially by a competent person. Paragraph 1926.1053(b)(15) states that a competent person should be inspecting ladders for visible defects periodically or immediately after an accident has happened. These inspections should be logged.
Tip 2: Many times, roofers misjudge ladder angles. When this happens, ladders are set too steeply or too shallow. The good news is that there is an NIOSH Ladder Safety phone app available to help workers set ladders at the right angle thereby reducing the incidence of falls.
Tip 3: The way you climb ladders matters. Roofers should be ascending and descending ladders while facing the ladder and using at least one hand at all times. Shoes should be slip resistant and roofers should avoid carrying unnecessary items up and down the ladder.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.