Incorrect ladder use is consistently one of the top 10 most cited OSHA violations each year, and more than 300 people die in ladder-related accidents annually, according to the American Ladder Institute (ALI). As pointed out in a recent safety infographic by Graphic Products, over 81% of fall-related emergency room visits for construction workers are caused by ladders.
Knowing the hazards involved, it only makes sense to devote an entire month to safer ladder handling, and as such, March has been proclaimed ladder safety month. ALI offers guidelines on their website such as the downloadable ladder safety PDFs, and OSHA provides guidelines such as wooden ladders must not have any opaque covering, except for identification or warning labels, which must be placed only on one face of a side rail. Standards like these prove through proper signage, ladder safety is made possible not only in March, but all year long.
How Good Visual Communication Helps Ladder Safety
Ladders should be marked with a sign or label when not suitable to operate, when defective, or when broken. It’s not only a good idea—OSHA requires it. As stated in OSHA standard 1926.1053(b)(16):
“Portable ladders with structural defects, such as, but not limited to, broken or missing rungs, cleats, or steps, broken or split rails, corroded components, or other faulty or defective components, shall either be immediately marked in a manner that readily identifies them as defective, or be tagged with ‘Do Not Use’ or similar language, and shall be withdrawn from service until repaired.”
Know where to turn for hazard signage? With DuraLabel printers such as the DuraLabel PRO 300, you can print custom labels from your desktop. Graphic Products also offers a wide selection of premade scaffolding and ladder signs. In addition, Graphic Products offers training materials on supported scaffolds for construction workers, which assists facilities of all types in complying with OSHA's Scaffolding regulation (29 CFR 1926.451). This training program helps employees understand the dangers of working with scaffolds, and how these risks can be minimized by knowing the correct ways to erect, maintain, and use scaffolding equipment. These are available on several media, including DVD and CD-ROM.