How Proper Training And Awareness Cuts Down On Ladder Injuries

how proper training and awareness cuts down on ladder injuries

Posted on 17th Mar, 2017 | By Lorretta Tatham

This month is the first ever National Ladder Safety Month, a nationwide initiative spearheaded by the American Ladder Institute. While it doesn’t technically cover those of us on this side of the Atlantic, at Browns Safety we definitely still think it’s a worthy enough cause to get behind; a study conducted by ALI found that 75% of respondents felt workplace accidents could be reduced by proper awareness and training.

The Most Common Causes Of Ladder Accidents

fall from height

The American Ladder Institute has identified two leading causes behind many cases of ladder accidents. One of these is overreaching, when the user leans out too far to one side when performing their task. There are a couple of reasons for this, but it’s frequently because they’ve misjudged the distance, or have unwisely decided against simply descending and moving the ladder closer to their work area. The guardrails on many modern ladders are installed to reduce the likelihood for this exact situation. Users are advised to always keep their hips within the guardrails so as not to overbalance the ladder, which often results in a fall.

The other leading cause of many ladder accidents is when the user misses the last step when descending the ladder. According to statistics gathered by the team behind National Ladder Safety Month, it’s not the high-rise accidents that are the most common (though they tend to get the most press). In fact, the most common ladder falls happen between 6 to 10 feet off the ground. Meanwhile, according to other sources, a great proportion of accidents arise from users holding tools with both hands – in other words, not maintaining that ever-crucial three points of contact with the ladder.

How Building Awareness Improves Ladder Safety

 work place safety

These are mistakes that can be minimised with greater awareness and proper training, both at home and on the job site. Currently, although a homeowner might be aware that potentially overreaching may be unwise, they often don’t have specific knowledge about how often this leads to an accident. Initiatives like National Ladder Safety Month aim to emphasise these statistics, and in doing so stress how often these actions result in bodily harm. Non-hypothetical evidence of real events is then likely to make people think twice about what they’re doing, giving them that extra push to choose the wiser, safer course of action instead.

Although the majority of professionals are stringent in their codes of practice regarding ladders – both in inspecting them and using them – the average homeowner (as well as the occasional tradesman) doesn’t carry out more than a cursory check of their ladder before using it. Building awareness of how to carry out proper inspections and instilling these practices in the national psyche can normalise them, making them a regular habit rather than simply an optional extra measure. Therefore, even something as simple as greater awareness can improve the safety of millions and help stop thousands of accidents each year.

At Browns Safety, we’re deeply passionate about guaranteeing the safety of our customers. That’s why we offer an accredited Ladders And Steps User Training Course amongst our range of training courses on access equipment. To make an enquiry, or to ask us for any questions or advice, you can get in touch with us on 01282 615 517. We’re always happy to help!

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