OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, sets the standards for ladder safety training.
Knowledge of ladder safety measures has become more important as the number of injuries from construction ladder accidents has increased. In the United States, during a 16-year period ending in 2005, a study found that more than two million patients in emergency rooms were there because of injuries sustained in accidents with stairs. In Canada, 300 people die each year in similar accidents with stairs, while around 100,000 people are injured seriously enough to need medical treatment. Because of the number of injuries related to ladder accidents, safety experts believe that employers and employees would benefit from increased awareness of ladder safety, including correct placement, steps for use and maintenance.
Ladder safety is designed to reduce construction work accidents.
According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, about 66 percent of injuries are caused by workers who have not received adequate ladder safety training. Training includes the most appropriate ways to place and use the ladder and related equipment, as well as specific maintenance steps such as inspecting the equipment to ensure it is in good working order. OSHA Ladder Safety also sets standards for the proper way to securely fasten a ladder. There are also safety regulations that dictate the distance between the rungs of a ladder, as well as the distance between the upright sides. OSHA also recommends specific shapes for steps and also types of step coverings to prevent workers from slipping.
No matter how ladder accidents occur, the end result is usually a permanent injury.
No matter how ladder accidents occur, the end result is usually a permanent injury. Lack of knowledge about ladder safety often results in falls, with most injuries occurring to the lower extremities. Experts say that safety measures are also important for a person working on the ground under a ladder, because injuries have occurred as a result of falling items.
In some cases, ladder workers are required to wear safety harnesses.
In the movies, it might seem funny when someone is caught off-guard and knocked down a ladder while being carried by a co-worker, but in real life this type of accident can have serious medical consequences. Other types of accidents that can be avoided by ladder safety training are collisions with overhead power lines and tripping over improperly placed ladders. The association recommends that employers adopt safety policies for stairs that include proper use, maintenance and removal. Such policies would go a long way towards reducing accidents and fatalities on stairs, safety experts say.