At construction sites, construction workers often use equipment, such as ladders and scaffolds, when they work. From roofers who need to get to the roof, to a painter who needs to paint a high ceiling, they all use ladders or scaffolds. Unfortunately, workers also fall and get injured when ladder and scaffold safety measures are not followed.
Every year, falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. According to OSHA, falls from ladders make up nearly 1/3 of construction site deaths. Falls from ladders are preventable, and employers need to train employees on how to properly use ladders and to follow safety practices to ensure their safety. This begins with making sure that the ladders themselves are safe and then training the employees on how to properly use the ladders.
OSHA Regulation 1926.1053 outlines the requirements that apply to ladders. The regulations also provide important safety guidelines pertaining to the ladders’ condition prior to use.
Section 1926.1053(a)(6) provides:
(i) The rungs and steps of fixed metal ladders manufactured after March 15, 1991, shall be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material, or otherwise treated to minimize slipping.
(ii) The rungs and steps of portable metal ladders shall be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material, or otherwise treated to minimize slipping.
Therefore, the steps of a metal ladder must be skid-resistant because if the ladder is not skid-resistant, a worker is much more likely to slip and fall from the ladder.
Section 1926.1053(a)(8) provides:
A metal spreader or locking device shall be provided on each stepladder to hold the front and back sections in an open position when the ladder is being used.
If the ladder does not have a locking device, the ladder will likely become unstable and collapse when a worker is on it and fall.
Section 1926.1053(a)(11) provides:
Ladder components shall be surfaced so as to prevent injury to an employee from punctures or lacerations, and to prevent snagging of clothing.
If ladder components are not surfaced, workers can suffer puncture and laceration injuries that cause them to lose balance and fall off the ladder.
Click here to continue reading part 2 of this article series, which discusses proper employee training in order to prevent fall accidents from ladders at PA and NJ construction work sites.