According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls kill or serious injure many people while they are working on the job. The CDC points to 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which tallied that across the country, 605 workers died and approximately 212,760 others suffered severe harm from falls on the job.
Many of these falls happen while the worker is on a ladder. The American Ladder Institute recommends the Three Points-of-Contact approach to climbing any ladder in order to minimize the risk of a worker falling off the ladder and being injured while working on the job. Slip and falls from ladders are real danger to workers in a variety of industries and trades, from construction to roofing to painting and more.
The Three Points of Contact approach helps the worker remain steady on the ladder even if one of his arms or legs, hands or feet, slip while climbing the ladder. From the ALI, these safety tips are recommended as the 3 Point of Contact method of climbing a ladder:
- wearing slip-resistant shoes with heals and heavy soles to prevent foot fatigue;
- cleaning the soles to maximize traction;
- using towlines, a tool belt or an assistant to convey materials so that the climbers hands are free when climbing;
- climbing slowly and deliberately while avoiding sudden movements;
- keeping the center of your belt buckle (stomach) between the ladder side rails (or within the width of the cleats) when climbing and while working.
- Do not overreach or lean while working so that you don’t fall off the ladder sideways.
This week, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) brought more support to workers who must use ladders as part of their job duties. The NIOSH has introduced a new, free Ladder Safety smart phone application (app).
Using their smartphone, a worker can take advantage of the NIOSH app and its signals not only to check the angle of the ladder before climbing but also to get points and tips on ladder safety.
“The ladder safety app is an innovative way to help keep workers safe and a tool to reduce these preventable injuries,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “The development of this smart phone app also demonstrates how we are constantly working to make science-based practical information accessible to workers and employers in a way they need and can easily use.”
You can get the NIOSH app for either ioS or Android here.