Reminder: Move the ladder, don’t stretch

by on March 5, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

It’s tempting for workers to stretch as far as they can when working on a ladder. Let me just finish this one thing, then I’ll move the ladder, is the thinking.

Understandable, but too risky. As you know, ladders are designed for vertical support, and horizontal stresses put ladders off balance.

An employee of Duval Glass and Mirror, Jacksonville, FL, was 25 feet up on a ladder, caulking the inside of windows of a concert hall on the Jacksonville University campus. A second employee was holding the ladder. The first worker reached too far, and the ladder began to tip. The second employee was unable to re-stabilize the ladder; the worker fell off and hit his head on the floor, dying soon after. His name was not released by press time.

Take home: The three points of contact rule applies at all times. If a worker can’t maintain both feet on the ladder while reaching, he or she needs to move the ladder. And remind them that keeping both feet on the ladder means one foot on either side of the rung (e.g., the ladder’s center of gravity), not both feet on one side so the person can stretch further.

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