Importance of Ladder Safety Training in the Workplace
Guest post by: Ladders Direct. Their blog: ladders-direct.com/blog (Editors note: you should check out their blog – very quirky!)
Every year thousands of workers are injured after falls from heights, and there are several dozen fatalities. Many of these accidents involve ladders – usually the misuse of them, as using a ladder in a safe and cautious manner virtually precludes the possibility of workplace injury. It should be obvious to any corporation or small business that keeping your employees healthy and working is preferable to having them injured and convalescing or, potentially, making injury claims against you. The key to avoiding these unfortunate situations is to implement proper Ladder Safety Training in your workplace – and then ensure that your employees participate in it and take its lessons to heart.
The problem with ladders is that everyone assumes they are so simple as to need no training. After all, the concept is obvious: You either lean the ladder against a wall until friction and gravity hold it in place, or you open a stepladder and climb up. Easy! Yet there are many ways to go wrong. The assumption that there is nothing to learn about ladder safety is the first mistake many workers make.
The most common misuses of ladders that lead to workplace injury are: overreaching/leaning, using a ladder of insufficient height, combining ladders, placing ladders on unstable surfaces (such as tables), and failure to secure rubber feet or to lock the spreaders of a stepladder. While some of these practices may seem to be failures of common sense, many unsafe uses of a ladder can be corrected with the proper training.
As an employer, it is incumbent on you to anticipate safety issues, make certain the work area is safe and clear of obstructions, provide any necessary safety equipment, and to provide basic safety training on all equipment, including ladders. Aside from the increased productivity that a reduction of workplace injuries results in, there are two main reasons why mandatory safety training is essential, whether it is required by law or not:
1. There is no other way to eliminate ladder accidents. Regular inspections of all equipment is important, of course, and useful. But if your employees have not been trained properly they will not be able to ascertain whether a ladder has suffered a failure since the last inspection, and even a completely sound, recently inspected ladder can be misused to the point where it causes injury. Supplying safety equipment such as harnesses similar accomplishes very little unless employees have been trained in their proper use.
2. There will actually be an increase in productivity. The dirty little secret of the Lazy Man’s Ladder Shortcuts, such as overreaching, hopping, or standing on the top of a stepladder or the shelf is that these shortcuts actually add time! Consider the employee straining to leaning out from a ladder in order to reach the next bit of work: In the time it takes for them to manage this, they usually could have climbed down, moved the ladder properly, and climbed back up. Proper training encourages proper technique, and proper technique gets the job done faster.
If you’re not providing safety training to your employees, do so as soon as possible. Firstly, because it is your duty as employers to do so and secondly because it will spare your employees from injury and make them more productive.
Ladders Direct part of the Clow Group, established in 1913 and the largest privately owned manufacturer of ladders.