Construction workers falling from heights is one of the leading causes of death in the industry. Workers falling from ladders constitutes 1/3 of these deaths. Part 1 of this article discusses the OSHA regulations pertaining to the condition of the ladders themselves prior to use, and part 2, which is below, will discuss the training necessary to prevent workers from falling from ladders at work sites.
Employers must provide training programs for employees who need to use ladders at worksites. OSHA regulation section 1926.1060(a) provides:
The employer shall provide a training program for each employee using ladders and stairways, as necessary. The program shall enable each employee to recognize hazards related to ladders and stairways, and shall train each employee in the procedures to be followed to minimize these hazards.
In addition, even if employees were previously trained, employers must provide additional training if necessary pursuant to section 1926.1060(b), which provides:
Retraining shall be provided for each employee as necessary so that the employee maintains the understanding and knowledge acquired through compliance with this section.
Training is vital to ensure workers’ safety. Employees must know how to properly use a ladder and apply safety measures. For example, workers should always maintain a 3-point contact on the ladder when climbing, i.e., having two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand on the ladder when climbing. This will help workers maintain balance and prevent falls.
Ladders should be placed on level footing. This prevents ladders from tipping while workers are climbing on them.
Workers should also use the locking metal brace on the ladders to secure the ladders. This prevents the ladders from collapsing while in use.
Workers should also not over reach while on ladders. Oftentimes, rather than using other equipment, workers will just reach to try to get something and lose their balance and fall.
Click here to continue reading part 3 of this article series, which discusses other ladder safety measures in order to prevent fall accidents from ladders at PA and NJ construction work sites.