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Climbing the Ladder to Success. Safely.

Ladder Safety Month is held in March, but safety training is available online all year long.

By: Susan Orenga, Contributor

Ladders are safe, reliable tools when they are used properly. Image courtesy of the American Ladder Institute (ALI).

There are a host of statistics that paint a picture of why ladder safety training is so necessary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), ladder deaths accounted for 161 on-the-job fatalities in 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That same year, there were 22,710 ladder-related workplace injuries, an injury stat that has remained relatively constant over the previous several years.[1] Also, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that every year more than 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries (this includes people injured at home).[2]

More recently, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards released in October 2023, improper ladder use on construction sites was the third-most cited safety violation.[3]

It’s clear ladder safety is a serious topic. Ladders are safe, reliable tools when they are used properly. However, careless or improper use puts climbers at risk. Proper training and continuous adherence to correct usage standards can prevent ladder-related falls and accidents.

SAFE LADDER USE

The American Ladder Institute (ALI) is a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting safe ladder use. ALI was founded in 1947 and is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved developer of ladder safety standards. These are the technical specifications, developed and tested by subject experts, which prescribe rules governing the safe design, testing, care and use of various types of ladders.

ALI believes ladder accidents are preventable with thorough safety planning, training and continuous innovation in product design. The more people, organizations and businesses that get involved, the wider the message spreads, and the more people learn about proper ladder safety.

The organization’s signature initiative is Ladder Safety Month, observed every March. It is the only movement dedicated exclusively to the promotion of ladder safety, at home and at work. Obviously, ladder safety demands year-round focus. These four weeks each year allow ALI to take deep dives into different aspects of ladder safety, narrowing in tightly on one topic each week, to promote safety tips and training.

A ladder that is not placed on firm level ground can pose a risk to the climber. Image courtesy of the American Ladder Institute (ALI).

LADDER SAFETY TRAINING

ALI’s Ladder Safety Training site, (www.laddersafetytraining.org) makes safety training easy all year long, with an organized curriculum, video and resource libraries. The site and its related training are completely free.

Training courses are designed to seamlessly complement and integrate with an organization’s existing training program. Managers can choose as much or as little as they require; use the entire program wholesale or select a la carte courses to bolster gaps in their own training.

After signing up, trainers and training managers can develop a custom dashboard, called a Trainer’s Toolbox, in which they select training and testing, assign them to trainees, and monitor trainee performance and progress on the assignments. These dashboards can track everything from a handful of trainees for smaller organizations all the way up to hundreds for larger enterprises.

The toolbox is designed for ultimate flexibility and ease of use. Ladder topics covered include single and extension, articulated, mobile and stepladders. Training is available in English or Spanish.

Taking training on laddersafetytraining.org does not require an invitation from a trainer. Anyone who wishes to enhance their awareness of ladder safety can sign up, take training and be tested. And, obviously, training is available 24/7/365 — not only during Ladder Safety Month.

LADDER SAFETY MONTH GOALS

Because every life saved is precious, the multiple goals of National Ladder Safety Month are to decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities, increase the number of ladder safety training certificates issued by ALI, increase the frequency that ladder safety training modules are viewed on www.laddersafetytraining.org, lower the rankings of ladder-related safety citations on OSHA’s yearly list, increase the number of in-person ladder trainings, and increase the number of companies and individuals that inspect and properly dispose of old or damaged ladders.

ALI has already announced the topics to be covered in greater depth for Ladder Safety Month 2024, with week one focusing on training and awareness; week two on inspection and maintenance; week three covering stabilization, setup and accessories; and week four dedicated to safe climbing and positioning. Now is an ideal time to sign up for safety training, share it with employees, and prepare to follow along with this year’s program. WMHS

Susan Orenga is Executive Director of the American Ladder Institute (ALI), a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to promoting safe ladder use through ladder safety resources, safety training and the development of ANSI ladder safety standards. National Ladder Safety Month, observed each March and spearheaded by ALI, is the only program dedicated exclusively to promoting ladder safety at home and at work. www.americanladderinstitute.org.

[1]http://tinyurl.com/2e76wtsw

[2] Unpublished 2014 data from the U.S. Product Safety Commission’s National Injury Information Clearinghouse as quoted by the CDC: http://tinyurl.com/ycy4697y

[3]www.osha.gov/top10citedstandards

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