Tis’ the season when Dad and Mom begin the task of decorating the house using everybody’s favorite tool, the ladder - and it can come in all sizes and combinations. Everything from the standard six foot variety to the fancy folding ladders now so popular at the local hardware store, you know the one that can be made into umpteen different configurations.
Problem is, people always seem to end up on the floor or the ground simply because they expect too much of the ladder or try to make it work when common sense says it won’t. More people are injured or worse, from falls from ladders every year. Now most of the statistics center around the construction trades and general industry but the lack of safety in the home is usually transferred to the workplace. If we don’t inspect the ladder at home what makes you think people will do it in the work place? They won’t and they don’t.
Let’s take a look at the ladder you have in the garage or the workshop. Are the safety labels legible? Will it support your weight or have you put on a few pounds since it was purchased? Where do you store it? In the garage where any old place is good enough or like a friend of mine did, hang it behind the garage where the weather took its toll on it. Is it wood? If so, how old is it? Dried out, split and basically worthless? Fiberglass, is it faded, split, delaminated, chunks missing? Aluminum, looks much the same being dinged, dented and wobbles like a bowl of jell-o. Yup. Putting up the decorations is going to be lots of fun. Oh, and the extension ladder for all those strings of lights? You know the one that’s missing the rope and pulley to safely extend it and the feet that may be missing or damaged. Yeah, you know the one that doesn’t lock properly because the locking mechanism stopped working ages ago, Yeah, that’s the one! It looks almost like the one at work you routinely use. Well, if it’s good enough for work…
Aside from all of the above, how we set it up and use the ladder counts for just as much. Ladders improperly erected, over reaching or using the wrong ladder for the job are all recipes for hitting the pavement. Remember, if we take chances at home, we probably will take the same chances on the shop floor or the construction site. A few extra minutes doing it right will save hours in the emergency room.
Safety at the workplace begins with safety in the home. Good safety habits will ensure a good holiday and a safe workplace. And remember, the kiddies are watching you. If you take the time to do the job the right way, the safe way, the little guys in the front row will learn that Dad always took the time to make sure he was safe, for him and for us.
Workplace safety always begins at our own front door, so take those good habits and apply them to your workplaces so that when next holiday season rolls around, you’ll be able to enjoy your family and co-workers in the best of health.
Best wishes for the holiday season!