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Welcome To The Safety Corner!

George Allen Sr., Courts Building - 600 Commerce Street, 9th Floor, Dallas, Texas 75202
Phone: (214) 653-6776 • Fax: (214) 653-6822

Daniel Cherry Daniel Cherry, Facilities Safety and Training Supervisor

What is The Safety Corner you may ask? The Safety Corner is Facilities Managements way of communicating our current and previous safety talks with you, our employees. We want to emphasize the importance that safety plays in the workplace so that each of us can go home safely at the end of the day. Accidents can and do happen, but by providing you with safety related training we are empowering our most valuable assets, YOU, with the tools necessary to identify hazards.

Our current topic is ladder safety and it is something that we take for granted. When was the last time you verified the condition of the ladder and if it’s suited for the task at hand? I bet you can’t remember! You don’t replace domestic water line piping without verifying it’s drained and depressurized; so why would you use a ladder that you haven’t checked is in good condition and appropriate for your job?

Here are some injury statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Ladder falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths nationwide
  • In 2011 alone
    • There were 113 work-related ladder falls
    • Aprroximately 15,500 nonfatal injuries with at least one day off
    • Approximately 34,00 nonfatal injuries treated in a hospital emergency room

These statistics are pretty shocking considering that a few minutes spent evaluating the job and ladder could save a whole lot of pain and discomfort at the end. Now granted, getting a day off is pretty cool, especially a “sick day”, but is it really worth going to the ER or urgent care and then the paperwork afterwards? Is it worth your life? I don’t think so.

While we can’t prevent every injury from happening there are a few things you can do that will eliminate some risks.

  • Evaluate the task
    • Can this be safely done from the ground?
    • How tall of a ladder will be needed?
    • Is electricity present?
    • How much will I weigh with all my tools and equipment?
  • Evaluate the ladder
    • Does it have all its feet?
    • Is it the proper material?
    • Are the cross members damaged or loose?
    • Are there any signs of damage to the ladder frame or steps?
    • Is it clean of grease, dirt, etc. that would limit the amount of traction or the ability to hold on?

If you can answer these questions, you’re headed in the right direction. After you have evaluated the job and ladder you can head out to do your work. While out working there are a few things to remember.

  • Always try and maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder
  • Do not use the top two steps of a ladder or the top 4 steps of an extension ladder
  • Place your ladder on level ground or build a jig that can properly level your ladder
  • Do not walk your ladder
  • Do not overextend on a ladder

Ladders are a useful tool in the Facilities Management arsenal to help fight the continuous effort by our equipment to fail. They help us reach high places, make! daunting tasks easier, and make us short people the same height as everyone else, but they pose a hidden danger as seen by the statistics. When we think about the task ahead of us and how we use our tools, we can reduce hazards in our workplace.

Daniel Cherry
Facilities Safety and Training Supervisor