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Ladder Safety Awareness

Do you use ladders at home or at work? If so, have you been trained how to use them properly and safely? It may sound like a silly question, but ladders are involved in many fall incidents. In fact, falls are a leading cause of death in construction.

Each year, more than 300 construction workers are killed and more than 10,000 seriously injured by falls from heights. Of these, 104 deaths were falls from ladders and 57% of deaths from ladders occur in the construction industry. (Sources for statistics below.)
If your business is covered by OSHA, you’re required to adhere to ladder training and safety standards. These standards give you safe practices to help you protect your employees.
  • As with any tool, you should read all labels and markings before using a ladder. Set up and use your ladder according to the manufacturer’s label. Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes.
  • Know how to choose the right style, height, material, and performance rating of ladder required for the job.
  • Inspect ladders before initial use and before each work shift; remove damaged or defective ladders from service until repaired or discarded.
  • Avoid hazards, especially electrical hazards, and misuse. Do NOT use a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
  • Always maintain a 3-point (two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing.
  • Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement. Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
  •  An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support. Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.
  • A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
  • Be aware of the ladders’ maximum load rating and do not exceed it. Be aware of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.
  • Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.
  • Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
OSHA Launches Program to Protect High-Risk Workers From Coronavirus, Focuses on Employers That Retaliate Against Workers with Safety Concerns

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to President Biden's executive order on protecting worker health and safety, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a national emphasis program focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.

"This deadly pandemic has taken a staggering toll on U.S. workers and their families. We have a moral obligation to do what we can to protect workers, especially for the many who have no other protection," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. "This program seeks to substantially reduce or eliminate coronavirus exposure for workers in companies where risks are high, and to protect workers who raise concerns that their employer is failing to protect them from the risks of exposure."

NEP inspections will enhance the agency’s previous coronavirus enforcement efforts, and will include some follow-up inspections of worksites inspected in 2020. The program’s focused strategy ensures abatement and includes monitoring the effectiveness of OSHA’s enforcement and guidance efforts. The program will remain in effect for up to one year from its issuance date, though OSHA has the flexibility to amend or cancel the program as the pandemic subsides.

"With more people being vaccinated and the number of infections trending down, we know there is light at the end of the tunnel. But until we are past this pandemic workers deserve a Labor Department that is looking out for their health," added Frederick.

OSHA state plans have adopted varying requirements to protect employees from coronavirus, and OSHA knows many of them have implemented enforcement programs similar to this NEP. While it does not require it, OSHA strongly encourages the rest to adopt this NEP. State plans must notify federal OSHA of their intention to adopt the NEP within 60 days after its issuance.

In a related action, OSHA has also updated its Interim Enforcement Response Plan to prioritize the use of on-site workplace inspections where practical, or a combination of on-site and remote methods. OSHA will only use remote-only inspections if the agency determines that on-site inspections cannot be performed safely. On March 18, 2021, OSHA will rescind the May 26, 2020, memorandum on this topic and this new guidance will go into and remain in effect until further notice.
Brandon Black - (515) 577-5198 or Brandon@IowaCSSI.com 
Michael Messer - (319) 572-3595 or Michael@IowaCSSI.com
Mark Wieland - (515) 577-7622 or Mark@IowaCSSI.com
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WORKSAFE is a partnership between Master Builders of Iowa and Iowa OSHA, with safety services provided by Construction Safety Specialists, Inc. For more information on the WORKSAFE program or for safety inquiries, please contact one of the CSSI safety professionals at info@iowacssi.com

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