Every year in the U.S., more than 100 people die in ladder-related accidents, and thousands suffer disabling injuries. According to OSHA, falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination, and extension) are among the leading causes of workplace injuries and fatalities. However, these falls are preventable when employees know how to inspect, use, and maintain ladders.
Inspect ladders at a three to six month interval, or as determined by your employer and document the inspection in writing. Documentation is easily achieved by dating and initialing an inspection sticker on one of the ladder’s side rails. Before using any ladder, check for:
Do not use a ladder in poor condition. Instead:
Choose the Right Ladder
Do not use a ladder when stairs, ramps, or runways are available. If using a ladder, choose the right type and size for the task.
Set Up Ladder Properly
Most drivers spend less than 1% of their driving time in reverse, yet national statistics indicate that about one-quarter of all collisions occur while backing. Backing incident rates are even higher among public sector drivers, accounting for over 50% of all on-the-job vehicle collisions. Though backing incidents often occur at low speeds, collisions while driving in reverse can result in severe and fatal injuries. Nationally, back over incidents kill an estimated 200 people annually and injure more than 12,000. Backing carries its own set of driving risks.
Drivers' poor techniques cause most backing accidents. Limited vision out of back windows or around long truck beds and equipment bodies can result in drivers not seeing other vehicles, obstacles, coworkers, or pedestrians. Whether in a parking lot, on the road, or at a construction site, workers who learn the proper steps to driving in reverse can help prevent backing accidents.
Safe Parking Tips
Encourage drivers to avoid backing a vehicle unless necessary. Use these added safety tips when parking.
Other Backing Safety Guidelines
Most drivers back infrequently and, therefore, lack a high level of confidence in doing it. For drivers who are unsure of their backing ability, take the time to practice. Set up some cones to back around or find an empty parking lot to learn how to back into stalls. Get to know your vehicle and its blind spots. Use the following backing tips to reduce and prevent crashes:
Backing Large Vehicles or Vehicles with Trailers
Vehicle backing is particularly dangerous in workplace settings. Large vehicles, such as semi-trucks, construction vehicles, and vehicles equipped with trailers, present more severe backing hazards. These vehicles have significantly larger blind spots than standard vehicles and, if hauling a trailer, pivot in the opposite direction when backing. Practice and proper backing safety training can reduce the chances of collisions and save companies millions of dollars in damages, lawsuits, and insurance costs.
In addition to the steps mentioned above, the following tips can provide extra safety when backing large vehicles and vehicles with trailers.