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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

Snakes and Ladders was invented in India over 100 years ago and, eventually, made its way to the United States in the early 1900’s. The board game giant, Milton Bradley, changed the name to Chutes and Ladders in the spring of 1943; and the game remains popular with kids today. The object of the game is to successfully guide your game piece from the bottom square to the top square, being both aided by ladders and hindered by chutes.

Unfortunately, life is not all fun and games. Although ladders can aid us in reaching higher grounds, nearly 200,000 people are injured annually from accidents involving ladders.

Ladder safety is one of the most overlooked, but essential forms of fall protection in the industry today.

Setting aside this time will allow for you to clear your mind of distractions and focus on one thing and one thing alone: the existing hazards associated with that specific workplace activity.

Last year, OSHA reported 3,719 violations in regards to ladder safety. The most cited section of ladder safety is the notorious “three foot rule”. According to OSHA 1926.1053:

“When portable ladders are used for access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails shall extend at least 3 feet (.9 m) above the upper landing surface to which the ladder is used to gain access; or, when such an extension is not possible because of the ladder's length, then the ladder shall be secured at its top to a rigid support that will not deflect, and a grasping device, such as a grabrail, shall be provided to assist employees in mounting and dismounting the ladder. In no case shall the extension be such that ladder deflection under a load would, by itself, cause the ladder to slip off its support.”

OSHA inspectors can easily see when a job site is in violation of this rule. The inspectors just need to drive by and glance at the top of the the roofs, if they don’t see a “significant” part of the ladder above roofs, they can start writing people up.

Guardian’s Safe-T Ladder Extension System has proven to be a great asset in every contractor’s quest to comply with this strict OSHA guideline. The system attaches to the top of most extension ladders and provides two offsetting handles that allow for the worker to easily transition from ladder to roof.

In addition to the “three foot rule”, OSHA outlines several standards pertaining to ladder stability. The OSHA 1926.1053 states:

“Ladders shall not be used on slippery surfaces unless secured or provided with slip-resistant feet to prevent accidental displacement. Slip-resistant feet shall not be used as a substitute for care in placing, lashing, or holding a ladder that is used upon slippery surfaces including, but not limited to, flat metal or concrete surfaces that are constructed so they cannot be prevented from becoming slippery.”

The brand new Lock-N-Climb is a great way to prevent ladder “kick-out” and to stabilize ladders on slippery or uneven surfaces. This patented product from Guardian uses a unique leg system that stabilizes the ladder in a matter of seconds and provides a rock solid base to best ensure worker safety.

Your onsite competent person also plays a huge role in ensuring ladder safety on the job site. As employers are now legally obligated to inspect the site where their employees will be working, at least one competent person must be onsite while ladders are in use and fall hazards are present (This rule affects you even if employees are working under the day-to-day supervision of a primary contractor).

Your trained onsite competent person must be able to identify any hazardous or dangerous conditions. They must be trained on using personal protective equipment (PPE), anchor points and/or a selection of personal restraint systems. It is very important that this person should know how to detect hidden defects in ladders and understand all aspects of ladder inspection.

Ladders can be a deceptively complex tool, but with the assistance from select ladder safety products from Guardian and your Guardian-trained onsite competent person, it can be made as easy as a game of Chutes and Ladders.