Friday, March 16, 2018

You can’t blame gravity for falling. Think again about ladder safety!

I know what you’re thinking. It’ll never happen to me. I do much more dangerous tasks on the job than climbing a ladder. Reality is that most ladder deaths are from falls of 10 feet or less. The point is, ladders can be dangerous if not used properly.

Since March is Ladder Safety Month, let’s discuss portable ladders.
1)      The first way to ensure your safety is to use the right ladder for the job. How high are you going? Does it require a step ladder or an extension ladder? How much do you weigh? The weight includes if you’re wearing a tool belt or tool vest! Are there electrical wires nearby? All ladders receive a rating based on their maximum intended or working load – the total weight that they can safety support:

Type IAA: Rugged
Special Duty
375 lbs.
Type IA: Industrial
Extra Duty
300 lbs.
Type I: Industrial
Heavy Duty
250 lbs.
Type II: Commercial
Medium Duty
225 lbs.
Type III: Household
Light Duty
200 lbs.

2)      Once you have the correct ladder, inspect it. There are all sorts of ladder inspection checklists out there. Part of a ladder inspection is verifying the labels are visible as it’s important to read the safety information labels on the ladder. The climber is not considered qualified or adequately trained to use the ladder until familiar with this information. 

3)      Speaking of training, the employer is responsible in making sure that each employee who uses a ladder is trained by a competent person on how to use a ladder correctly, how to recognize the hazards related to ladders, and the procedures they must follow to minimize these hazards.
4)      After inspecting your ladder, be sure you’re using it properly. How to properly use an extension ladder and step ladder will be covered in training, but here are the basics regardless of the type of ladder:

  • First, always face the ladder. Grab the ladder with both hands and ascend while facing it, ensuring that you have three points of contact on the ladder at all times. To maintain three points of contact, you must not be carrying anything. Items should be on a tool belt or tool vest.
  • Make sure the ladder is locked into place before ascending and always make sure the to check the ladder’s stability before placing your weight on it. Never move or adjust a ladder while somebody is on it.
  • While ascending, your center of gravity should be between the side rails. Do not overreach or lean while working so that you don’t fall off the ladder sideways or pull the ladder over sideways while standing on it.
  • As tempting as it may be, the top of ladder should never be used as step. In fact, ladder manufacturers recommend never standing above the third highest step.
  • Footwear also plays a part in falls from ladders. Wearing slip resistant shoes with heavy soles to prevent foot fatigue, and cleaning the soles of the shoes to maximize traction is important before climbing. 

Ladder accidents are preventable. Safety training, ladder awareness, and education tools will help prevent people from being industry statistics. Why not use March to raise awareness in ladder safety in your organization? 

For more ladder information, please visit these links:


By: Julie Jelen

Friday, March 9, 2018

Clean Your Room!

I doubt I’m the only one whose parents yelled at them to clean their room as a kid. I bet you didn’t think good housekeeping would also follow you into the workplace! Housekeeping in the workplace can mean everything from promptly cleaning up any spills to putting any tools or equipment back where they belong, and keeping walkways clear. Poor housekeeping in the shop can result in slip, trip, and fall or struck/injured by injuries and can even be the root cause of fires in the workplace.

So, what can you do? A good start is to establish a Workplace Housekeeping Program. A good Housekeeping Program would include:
  • Ensuring that there is a clean, out of the way storage location for all tools and materials.
  • Training all staff on proper housekeeping procedures such as putting tools and materials in their designated storage locations, not leaving them out when not in use, and promptly cleaning up and spills, and cleaning workspaces of any debris such as sawdust when you are done with a task.
  • Holding staff accountable for doing their part to keep the shop clean.
  • Establishing a regular routine to clean other aspects of the shop such as light fixtures, rugs, and flooring.

Lastly, conduct regular inspections of the entire shop to ensure that proper housekeeping measures are still in place. This will give you an opportunity to take a step back and evaluate how you program is going, and see if any new issues have arisen such as mats or flooring becoming worn and becoming a tripping hazard, or new tools/supplies/materials that were never provided a proper storage location.

Keeping the shop and/or work area clean is an important aspect in keeping everyone safe, and should be everyone’s responsibility. Go look at your shop, How are you doing?

Other Housekeeping resources:


By: Cody Tuttle

Friday, March 2, 2018

Learn How to Ensure Your Parks are ADA Compliant at the Spring Loss Control Workshops!

ADA Accessibility is the focus of this year’s LMCIT: Spring Safety and Loss Control Workshop. The 2010 ADA Law requires accessibility to parks, play areas, pools, boating, fishing piers, exercise facilities, and sport facilities among others. With no “Safe Harbor”, existing recreational facilities will need to be upgraded as well, along with any new facilities.  

Attendees in the upcoming Public Works/Parks & Rec Track workshop will have the entire morning session to learn about common ADA issues at parks & recreation centers, solutions to improving accessibility, and exposure to available ADA resources & tools. After the classroom session, the class will take a field trip to a local park where they will have a chance to put into practice what they learned in the classroom. 

Some of the areas to be discussed include:

  • Parking                                                
  • Access Route
  • Building Entrance
  • Restrooms
  • Playgrounds
  • Picnic Shelters and Tables
  • Docks/Fishing Pier
  • Sport Facility Seating


By: Joe Ingebrand