Ladder and Fall Prevention Safety at the Construction Site

Falls from elevated surfaces are frequently listed as one of the most common causes of accidents in the construction industry. Most of these accidents occur due to failure to follow basic ladder safety. GDI Insurance Agency, Inc is here to help your construction business call us today 1-209-634-2929 for your California contractor insurance needs. To help prevent ladder injuries on the jobsite, practice the following ladder and fall protection tips.

Setting up Safely

Make sure you select the correct ladder for the job – check the length and duty rating. Proper length is a minimum of three feet extending over the roofline or working surface.

Ladder SafetyInspect your ladder before each use for loose or damaged parts, such as the following:

  • Steps
  • Rungs
  • Spreaders
  • Rung dogs
  • Safety feet
  • Other parts

Clear the area where you will be working. Never place a ladder in front of a door that isn’t locked, blocked or guarded.

Because metal ladders conduct electricity, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder near power lines or electrical equipment.

Check that all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged before placing your ladder on a steady surface. The ground underneath the ladder should be level and firm. Large, flat wooden boards braced underneath a ladder can help level it on an uneven surface or soft ground. Straight, single or extension ladders should be set up at approximately a 75 degree angle.

Use the 1:4 ratio to ensure your safety when on a ladder. Place the base of the ladder one foot away from whatever it’s leaning against for every four feet of height up to the point of contact for the top of the ladder.

Use Caution

Always use caution when using a ladder at your construction site, and never use a ladder for any other purpose than intended.

Other safety considerations include the following:

  • Make sure the weight that your ladder is supporting does not exceed its
    maximum load rating (user plus materials). Only one person should be on a
    ladder at a time.
  • Keep your body centered between the rails of the ladder at all times. Do
    not lean too far to the side while working. Never overreach—instead,
    descend from the ladder and move it to a better position.
  • Do not step on the top step, bucket shelf or attempt to climb or stand on
    the rear section of a stepladder.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing up or down. Never leave a raised
    ladder unattended.
  • Slowly step down from a ladder if you feel dizzy or tired.
  • Non-slip footwear should be worn at all times when on a ladder at a
    construction site.

Minimize ladder accidents by adhering to these fall and ladder safety and prevention tips.

Residential Construction Fall Protection Requirements

Falls in residential construction are deadly and common. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 40 workers are killed each year as a result of falls from residential roofs—the number one cause of workplace deaths in construction. These injuries and deaths are not only costly to your company due to claims and elevated insurance premiums, they are preventable. For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has explicitly stated that residential builders are not allowed to bypass fall protection requirements.

Who is Involved?

Ladder SafetyAll employers engaged in residential construction work are required to provide fall protection for workers working more than six feet above ground. Residential construction includes the following elements:

  • The end use of the structure being built is a home or a dwelling.
  • The structure is built using traditional wood frame construction
    materials and methods. Limited use of structural steel does not disqualify
    a structure from being considered residential construction.

Any employer involved in residential construction is required to comply with OSHA regulations regarding ladder and fall protection systems. This means employees working 6 feet or more above lower levels must use one of the following safety systems:

  • Guardrails and safety nets
  • Personal fall arrest systems, an example of which being a full body
    harness, a deceleration device, a lanyard and an anchor point.

Certain types of work specified under other OSHA provisions warrant alternative fall protection measures.

What if Ladder and Fall Protection is Infeasible?

When the use of conventional ladder and fall protection methods is infeasible or creates a greater hazard, employers must create a written, site-specific fall protection plan that documents why these methods are infeasible and why they would create a greater hazard.

Does your broker provide you with timely updates on new and revised OSHA regulations?

When regulatory changes affect your business, we’ll make sure you have all the resources you need to keep your team informed and compliant.

Are you being proactive in your approach to workers’ compensation costs?

We can help you control workers’ compensation claims by establishing a safety policy, adopting a return to work program, streamlining reporting procedures and identifying top loss sources.

Did you know that businesses see a significant return on every dollar invested in safety and health?

Our construction safety manual and Safety Matters “toolbox talks” provide your employees with useful injury prevention information and help build a culture of safety.

We also provide posters, flyers, newsletters and more to keep safety top of mind at the jobsite.

Roofing Contractor Continuously Violates Fall Protection Standards and Faces Nearly $400,000 in Fines

According to OSHA, a Maine-based roofing contractor has ignored numerous safety standards and exposed workers to significant fall risks for a number of years. OSHA cited the contractor—which has operated under the names Lessard Roofing & Siding and Lessard Brothers Construction—for safety violations at 11 different worksites between 2000 and 2011. However, the contractor failed to address the citations or pay any of the issued fines.

In 2011—after Lessard initially failed to address the OSHA citations—the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the contractor to correct the worksite violations, implement appropriate safety measures and pay accumulated fines with interest. Now, the court has held Lessard’s owner in civil contempt for defying the original 2011 order.

As a part of the recent court ruling, Lessard must do the following:

  • Provide financial documentation to demonstrate the contractor’s ability to pay the $389,685 in outstanding OSHA fines.
  • Ensure that employees and contractors use required safety equipment and fall protection.
  • Conduct worksite safety analyses and meetings.
  • Employ a competent person to ensure work proceeds according to OSHA regulations.
  • Give OSHA details about each of the contractor’s worksites so the agency can conduct safety inspections.

Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of injuries at work. In fact, fall protection violations are one of OSHA’s most frequent citations every year, with 6,072 issued in 2017 alone. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how to protect workers is the first step in eliminating or reducing fall hazards. Contact us at 209-634-2929 for OSHA programs, presentations and training materials you can use to protect your employees and avoid costly fines.

Contact Us

At GDI Insurance Agency, Inc., we have a variety of materials for you to ensure compliance and promote a safe workplace, which are essential components of any construction risk management program.  Contact us today at 1-209-634-2929 for your comprehensive construction insurance quote.