March is National Ladder Safety Month in the United States. SMACNA would like you take a few minutes to fully review ladder safety in your offices and job sites. The American Ladder Institute created the National Ladder Safety Month movement to raise awareness of ladder safety and decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities. According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction and make up a third of all deaths in the industry.
On the Construction Site
SMACNA urges members to take a look at the OSHA Standard for ladders on construction sites and to ensure workers are aware of common fall hazards. Ladders are the third most frequent standard cited by OSHA for construction sites.
Contractors also should note OSHA’s recommendation to “plan ahead to get the job done safely, provide the right equipment, and train everyone to use the equipment safely.”
OSHA has also published several fact sheets on the safe use of job-made wooden ladders, stepladders, and extension ladders.
In the Shop
Ladder safety is important in your shops and offices as well as on the job site. OSHA published an update in 2017 to the “general industry walking-working surfaces and fall protection standards.” In this update, OSHA aligned fall protection requirements for general industry with those for construction, “easing compliance for employers who perform both types of activities. Read the full update here.
Members can also review OSHA’s standard for ladders in shops and “walking-working surfaces.”
SMACNA’s Fall Protection Model Program
SMACNA offers a Fall Protection Model Written Program that is free for members to edit and use as their own. The program includes a section on ladder safety. To download the program, visit SMACNA’s Model Policies page in the Safety and Health section. The Fall Protection program is located under Model Written Programs.