Ladders are simple, right? But falls are the leading cause of death in construction. One-quarter of falls are from ladders.
This is the site where a 33-year-old worker died. Fatal falls happen even from heights of less six feet. It was a simple task: Washing windows.
The worker tied a five-gallon bucket of cleaning solution to the top of the ladder. Climbed the ladder with tools, then turned facing the window, using the heels of his work boots to balance himself near the ladder's top rung.
The force of the worker's action on the top-heavy ladder caused it to tip over. A foreman from a different company heard the crash and called 9-1-1.
"9-1-1, what's your emergency?"
When EMS arrived minutes later, the worker was unresponsive and having seizures. He was taken to a hospital where he died 14 hours later.
This death could have been prevented.
The company should have provided hands-on training so workers know how to work safely.
Second, the company should've had a written safety program that they enforce to avoid unsafe practices, like not placing heavy items on the top or side of a ladder, never working from the top two rungs, never overreaching or leaning, and to always work facing the step ladder and maintain three points of contact when climbing.
But the best solution is to eliminate the use of a ladder entirely. The company could have provided tools like extender poles, or a personal lift.
This tragedy doesn't have to happen to you or a co-worker.
Use what you've just learned, then you can go home safe.
This video is from The Center for Construction Research and Training, part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. They have many more videos on their YouTube channel.