In Ontario Canada last month, a man installing drywall fell from his ladder. He was alone in the room at the time, so the paramedics could not say for sure what caused the accident. Due to the fall, the man had a fractured shoulder. He was unconscious when he fell, and, when he regained consciousness, he showed signs of a concussion. Based on his injuries, the paramedic who reported to the scene estimated his fall to be from eight to ten feet.
What can we learn from this accident?
Since the details of the accident are a little unclear, it is hard to tell how to prevent this type of accident. From the small amount of information, here are a few takeaways.
Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency
One cause that has not been ruled out for this accident is a medical emergency. Make sure you train your team on the importance of stopping work if he or she is not feeling 100 percent healthy. Usually, there are signs such as nausea or dizziness before a true medical emergency. Maybe, as part of a safety training, you could talk about signs of a sickness. That way, your team knows what to do for themselves and their teammates.
Beware of Slipping Hazards
Remind your team to wipe down the ladder whenever it is wet or sticky. In addition, wear the proper footwear. Flip-flops and other non-gripping shoes have no place on ladders. While climbing, this man could have easily slipped if something on his ladder was slick or if his shoes did not grip well.
Maintain Three Points of Contact
Train your team on the importance of maintaining three points of contact. Doing this will help workers catch themselves more easily if they lose footing or grip.
Use the Ladder Safely
So many times, I see people using ladders in crazy ways. Sometimes they are on the top cap. Sometimes they have their legs wrapped around the rungs. Sometimes they are leaning. Using a ladder in any of these ways could lead to a terrible accident and injury. Somehow, it seems using the ladder safely is not as easy as it sounds. Train your team so they know not to use the ladder this way. Then, if you see them suing the ladder wrong, make sure to correct them.
As far as the news article says, the man should make a full recovery. Luckily, the accident wasn’t worse, but we can still learn so the same thing does not happen to a member of your team.