Tag Archives: safety

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ladder safety

Ladder Safety Learned The Hard Way

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Homeowner Falls Off Ladder.

This is a story about ladder safety, one of the most dangerous hazards people encounter on a regular basis.  This Illinois homeowner set up a ladder and was attempting to get on his roof in November to blow leaves off the roof.  He recently had new concrete poured on his patio.  He set up his ladder on the new, smooth concrete and rested the ladder against his gutter.  The temperature outside was around 30 degrees.  The homeowner strapped his gas-powered blower to his back, grabbed the hose with one hand and started up the ladder.  As he reached the roof edge, he started stepping from the ladder to the roof.  Just as he took his first step onto the roof, the ladder slid out from under him, causing him to fall approximately 10 feet to the ground below.  The ladder lost traction on the ground because conditions were icy and the base pads of the ladder were plastic. 

His wife, an ER nurse who happened to be home heard the fall and came to his aid and called an ambulance to take him to the hospital.  The homeowner suffered a broken wrist and a broken arm, each requiring screws and plates to aid in realigning the bones.  He was out of work for four months and needed six months of physical therapy.  He learned an important lesson about how dangerous ladders can be.


•  The homeowner should have made sure his ladder was set up on a stable surface and that it was set up at a proper angle so it couldn’t slide out from under him.

•  He also could have taken more care in carrying his blower up the ladder so it didn’t cause him to lose his balance.


•  Always set up ladders on solid, level, stable ground.

•  Inspect the ladder, rungs and rails for damage before climbing.

•  Let someone know you’ll be using a ladder to work on your roof or gutters.

•  Make sure ladders are set up at the proper angle so they can’t slide out
from under you.  Extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the roof line, or landing edge.

•  Always maintain three points of contact when on a ladder (i.e. two hands
and one foot or two feet and one hand).

•  Do not climb with tools in hand—use a tool belt.

•  Don’t overreach or stretch too far as this could cause the ladder to tip —
reposition the ladder closer to the work instead.

•  Think about ladder safety as you plan your task.  Take precautions to eliminate risks.

While this homeowner was unlucky to have fallen off his ladder, he was also lucky to have survived a fall from such a height.  Unfortunately, too many people are killed every year from falling off ladders.

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safety barricading

Safety Barricading for the Work Zone

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Safety Barricading

This is a great example of a crew doing the safe thing: safety barricading. When using lifts for material handling, the workers at this home improvement store block off the work aisle.  This is done so that shoppers cannot get close to them and their work.  This way, a distracted shopper can’t walk into a manlift or get backed into.  And if something fell from the lift, no one could be injured.

How Does This Relate to Our Work?
Training workers on what a safe work zone looks like is the first step in keeping everyone safe within the work zone.  All workers have to “buy into” the importance of safety—and then practice it during their shift.  All workers have to know about the potential hazards within their work zone and what safety procedures must be taken to minimize or eliminate those hazards.  From wearing proper PPE to setting up physical barricades as well as warning signs, safety procedures must be followed.  Organize a Daily Safety Huddle so workers begin their shift “Talking Safety” and “Thinking Safety”.  Promote a sense of teamwork towards safety to encourage cooperation among workers.  Companies that provide a safe work environment benefit from having a happy, healthy and motivated workforce.

—  When the work site is in public, it is crucial to barricade the work perimeter to keep other workers and pedestrians away from potential danger. 
—  This store uses signs and physical barriers to make sure no one can enter.
—  Even when your work site is barricaded properly, continue to remain alert and keep observing your surroundings.
—  Plan ahead when you know the work site is in public to make sure you have all the barricading and signage required to keep the work zone a safe zone.
—  Always keep your work zone organized and free of clutter and tripping hazards.


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Chock and Don’t Roll

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This is an example of practicing safety at all times. I noticed that this delivery truck had its wheels chocked. I asked the driver why he had the tires chocked when the truck was parked on perfectly level ground. He explained that it was company policy to set the chocks no matter what the incline was that the truck was parked on. That way, the driver never has to decide if the incline creates a risk of movement. Their trucks are ALWAYS safe.

This illustrates the maxim, “Better to be safe, than sorry”. Always practice safety—even when it appears to not be necessary. There was an incident where another delivery driver to a construction site pulled up and got out of his truck and left his hard hat on the seat. Someone 20 stories up dropped a tape measure which struck the driver and killed him. He assumed he’d be safe without his hard hat and in a split second he was dead. When working in public, always remember to barricade the work zone, as this driver also did correctly.


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Safety Topics Covered

Ladder Safety - LOTO - Confined Space - Trench Safety - Crane Safety - Fall Protection - PPE - Fuel Tank Safety - Eye Safety - Work Zone Safety - Chemical Safety - Forklift Safety - Electrical Safety - Pinch Points - Ergonomics - Material Handling - Tool Safety - Health & First Aid - Machine Guarding - Lifting & Back Health - Transport Safety - Hearing Protection - Respiratory Safety - Workplace Violence - Fire Safety - Chocking & Blocking - Walk/Working Surfaces - Hazard Communications - Bloodborne Pathogens - Flammable Liquids - Propylene Cylinders - Loading Dock Safety - Emergency Evacuation - Driving/Spotter Safety - Scaffolding Safety - Fatigue - Underground Utilities - Drum Labeling - Welding Safety - Hand Protection - Heat Stress - and more...