Why do we need yet another special “awareness” month, especially for something as simple as a ladder?  The CDC reports that approximately 20% of general industry worker fall injuries and 81% of construction worker fall injuries treated in US emergency departments (EDs) involve a ladder. General industry and construction nonfatal injuries treated in EDs average more than 34,000 per year with over 100 ladder related fatalities per year.  The question is why have we waited until 2017 to institute a Ladder Safety Month?

Why are so many workers being hurt while using ladders? I believe that the lack of training is one of the main reasons.  OSHA requires that all companies whose employees use ladders have a ladder safety training program and that each employee who is required to use a ladder be trained.  Sadly, I rarely visit a company with such a program or encounter an employee who has been trained on ladder safety.

Topics that should be in a ladder training program include:

  • Inspections,
  • Safe handling/transportation,
  • Selection,
  • Proper set up,
  • Proper use,
  • Limitations and hazards,
  • And many other relevant topics

OSHA believes that with appropriate training almost all ladder-related accidents can be eliminated. With skyrocketing healthcare cost and workers compensation premiums, an effective ladder safety program can be a very inexpensive and easy way to keep workers safe and maintain company profitability.  For assistance in implementing a ladder safety program, or any other OSHA required written program at your company, contact one of EI’s many occupational safety specialists.