WESTBROOK, Maine (December 20, 2010) – Nothing should spoil your holidays, especially an accident that could easily be prevented. Unfortunately, each year many workers are injured from falls related to ladders, and this risk especially grows around the holidays when many workers install or take down seasonal decorations.
The combination of workers doing unconventional tasks they do not normally do, coupled with a careless approach to ladder safety, can lead to potentially hazardous falls resulting in permanent disability, and even death.
In the past, labor inspectors have cited several employees for ladder safety violations related to holiday decorating, including hanging decorations from elevated platforms without fall protection, workers standing on top of ladders and other cases of improper ladder use.
Therefore, employers should train those workers using ladders at the work site on how to use them as well as how to properly recognize the hazards that encompass ladder usage.
When hanging holiday decorations and lights, Acadia Insurance offers the following ten tips for ladder safety:
- Carefully inspect the ladder for defects such as cracks or corrosion, and be sure that bolts and rivets are secure. If a ladder is deemed unsafe, tag and remove it from service.
- Make sure the ladder’s feet work properly and have slip-resistant pads.
- If dealing with electrical tasks and jobs, use a fiberglass ladder.
- When setting-up the ladder, look for a safe location with firm, level footing and rigid support for the top of the ladder, and set it at an angle per the manufacturer’s guidance.
- When climbing off a ladder at an upper level, make sure the ladder extends three feet above the landing.
- When climbing the ladder, always use three points of contact. Keep one hand and both feet, or both hands and one foot in contact with the ladder at all times.
- Never carry any load that could cause you to lose balance.
- Never stand on top of a ladder.
- Don’t pull, lean, stretch or make sudden movements on a ladder that could cause it to tip over. A scaffold or other safe working surface may be a better choice for your task.
- Avoid setting the ladder near exit doors, near the path of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
Further, The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) offers additional detailed tips and tools for safe ladder usage. By taking a moment to ensure your holiday decorations are set up and removed as safely as possible, you can help to provide a safe and healthy holiday season for you and your employees.
About Acadia Insurance
Acadia Insurance Group is a regional company offering commercial and specialty property casualty insurance coverages through independent insurance agents with local offices in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, Acadia Insurance is a subsidiary of W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE: WRB), one of the nation’s premier commercial lines property casualty insurance providers, and one of the 50 largest diversified financial companies in the United States. Please visit www.acadiainsurance.com.