March is National Ladder Safety Month, a time when the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) asks employers to take a moment to highlight ladder and fall safety for workers.
On average, one construction worker dies in a fall from heights in the U.S. every day, according to NIOSH. Many of these falls are from roofs, ladders and scaffolds. Construction companies with less than 20 employees and Hispanic workers are at the greatest risk from this hazard.
Falls can be prevented with proper work practices, equipment, training and planning. NIOSH states, “The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently surveyed people who experienced, witnessed, or investigated a workplace fall and found lack of planning to be a key underlying cause.”
Many falls from ladders and scaffolding are preventable by following these NIOSH safety tips:
- use ladders only when necessary
- get properly trained in ladder safety
- choose the right ladder for the job
- keep the ladder on level ground
- inspect ladders regularly, and
- avoid ladder overload.
For more related information and safety tips, see Safety News Alert’s Practical Tools and Training Shops on Ladder Safety, Scaffolding and Slips and Falls.