The third annual “Idiots On Ladders” is once again highlighting the importance of ladder safety and training. The organisers of the competition 'The Ladder Association' has received 100's of submissions of ladders being used in the most unsafe manner, from being set up on wheely bins, to hanging off balconies. The competition has highlighted the disturbing fact that people recognise that the misuse of ladders is dangerous, but the prevalence of unsafe ladder use is rampant. The submission that receives the most likes and comments on the The Ladder Association Facebook page is deemed the winner, although it is hoped that Occupational Health and Safety is the overall winner. At the very least, the humorous competition brings the issue of ladder safety firmly into the public spotlight and may potentially save lives and prevent injuries from the misuse of ladders.
How Dangerous Is Working On Ladders?
Statistics from Workcover New South Wales show just how dangerous working on ladders is, even at low heights:
- In the last eight years 232 Australian workers were killed from falls while working at heights.
- Of all falls at work that resulted in a fatality, half were from falls of less than three metres.
- 30% of falls from ladders occurred while climbing up or down the ladder.
- Every day 21 workers submit a claim for a falls related injury that requires one or more weeks off work.
What Is Proper Ladder Safety?
- In order for ladders to be be safely used a few key principles must be followed:
- The base of portable ladders must be situated on a stable surface.
- Ladders should not be used for work that exceeds six meters in height.
- Ladders should be secured at both the top and bottom of the ladder to prevent movement and horizontal slippage.
- Ladders should only be used within the limits of their use and design.
- Straight ladders should follow the 4:1 height to base ratio.
- Workers ensure that they maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times.
- Ladders should only be used if they are in proper working order and are regularly inspected and maintained.
Employers are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 to provide their workers with a safe working environment, and to ensure that workers are adequately trained to work safely in their environments. Business and property owners are increasingly using ladder brackets to provide safe working conditions in workplaces across the country. Ladder brackets can be easily installed on properties and provide a safe anchoring point for ladders, thereby preventing movement and slippage of the ladders. Ladder brackets provide a simple and cost effective way for workers to easily secure their ladder and gain access to the roof of a building. There is a wide range of ladder brackets available on the market that can be installed permanently on all types of roofs. Sydney Anchor Points is one of many height safety companies that is regularly installing and certifying ladder safety systems to provide safe working environments for workers that need to safely access roofs in the Sydney region. With the heightened sense of public awareness of the dangers of unsafe ladder use, and the increase of the use of ladder brackets, hopefully there will be a reduction in the amount of deaths and injuries from ladder use in the future.