March is National Ladder Safety Month. This 2-year old event was designed to raise awareness of ladder safety and to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities. Accidents can happen even to seasoned pros, but when you make safety a priority at work and home, unintentional injuries can be greatly decreased.
The American Ladder Institute breaks the month of events down into five distinct categories. Take the time to read each one, and think about how you can work the safety tips into your own life:
What is Ladder Safety?
Falls remain a leading cause of unintentional injury and mortality nationwide, and 43% of fatal falls in the last decade have involved a ladder. That’s a huge number! The vast majority of these injuries are the result of misusing the equipment. Ladder safety means taking the necessary precautions in order to prevent these accidents.
Ladder Safety at Work: Focus on Administrative Professional
As the front-line in office communications, your administrative assistant can do a lot to help improve safety. First and foremost, with the guidance of a manager, they can help design and implement safety protocol. All current employees should be brought up to date on new procedures, and new employees can be instructed in safety guidelines during the onboarding process. In addition, your admin can help investigate work safety incidents by interviewing injured employees and writing reports, as well as keeping track of first aid products and making sure the inventory is always stocked.
Ladder Safety at Work: Focus on Employee.
Employees can – and should – be involved in the safety process. When you make your staff responsible for their own safety, you give them a stake in the success of the program. Below are some tasks they can be in charge of:
- Create a workplace safety committee
- Review the current safety plan and make suggestions for improvement
- Inspect work areas and report hazardous conditions
- Create reports on injury statistics and safety goals
Ladder Safety at Home.
Whether you use a ladder frequently or infrequently, accidents can occur. It is always important to take the appropriate precautions, even during the most simple task – something as uncomplicated as decorating the Christmas tree can become dangerous if you’re using a ladder incorrectly. The following are easy ways to make sure your stay safe in your home:
- Follow manufacturer instructions (proper set-up, weight limit, etc.).
- Wear appropriate footwear – a non-slip, rubber soled shoe is always the best choice.
- Maintain 3 points of contact at all times – this can mean two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot.
- Don’t stretch or lean – doing either can cause the ladder to tip, causing serious injury.
Ladder Inspection and Disposal.
Using an old or faulty ladder is a common cause of trips and falls. Always inspect your ladder before every use – even if it’s only been a week since you last checked. Look for broken hinges, cracks on steps, and dirt or oil (which could cause you to slip).
With a little thought and consideration, most ladder-related accidents could be completely avoided. Use this month as an opportunity to rethink your own ladder-use habits, and consider how you might improve them.