May. 29th, 2013
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) looks to be headed in a new direction with their new e-publication, “Falling off Ladders Can Kill: Use Them Safely.” Developed together with the Singapore Workplace Safety and Health Council, the new literature signals a shift toward mobile functionalities and digital publications. The publication is available for download on smartphones, tablets, e-readers and laptop or desktop computers, allowing workers to easily access the information it contains while they are onsite.
The fact that OSHA chose ladder safety as the platform for this new technology shows how much importance they place on their Fall Prevention Campaign, which celebrated its one year anniversary in April of this year. The program offers educational resources to workers and employers, as well as training tools to help prevent falls at the worksite. Its goal is to provide common-sense fall prevention strategies to employers and workers, especially low-literacy or non-English speaking workers.
Falls, nearly a third of which are from ladders, are the leading cause of death in construction every year in the United States. Of the 255 deaths from falls in construction in 2011, 68 of them were from ladders. The majority of these incidents are preventable by following safety procedures such as those outlined in the digital booklet. It recommends such precautions as:
- Asking a series of simple questions to determine if a ladder is the right piece of equipment for the job at hand. If the work you are doing requires carrying heavy items, working for extended periods or standing sideways on the ladder, you should consider your other options.
- Making sure you’re using the most appropriate ladder for your work. For example, it should be high enough to avoid standing on the top rung.
- Securing the ladder responsibly and effectively, and double-checking that it is extended all the way before starting your work.
- Following guidelines that ensure you are climbing, descending and standing on the ladder correctly during the job.
Having a safety program in place will help your operations ensure that workers are following responsible safety procedures. OSHA provides numerous services and programs to use as resources. In addition, services such as ISN’s Health & Safety Review & Verification Services (RAVS®) team are available to help review your safety programs, making sure they address the needs of your company and bringing them into compliance with your Client’s requirements. ISNetworld can also track employee fall prevention training information.
There are numerous resources available to help you mitigate the risk of falls. With this new publication, ladder safety is now readily accessible to your workers onsite, in both English and Spanish, with clear, easy-to-follow tips. OSHA is moving into the mobile, digital world and elevating ladder safety awareness to a whole new level.