Workplace safety is top of mind for employers. Keeping employees safe and preventing workers’ compensation injuries that affect your bottom line is our goal in sharing real-life, large loss claims like this.
An employee was working on a rolling staircase ladder stocking product on a high shelf. Another employee, working below, handed him a box. The employee on the ladder reached to put the box up on the shelf but had to shift other product to do so. As he moved the product to the side, the ladder slid forward. The employee lost his footing and fell down the ladder, sustaining a fracture to his heel and abrasions to his elbow. Surgery was required to correct the injury to the employee’s heel.
Let’s look at how this accident may have been avoided by applying these loss prevention measures:
- Ladders must be inspected regularly and before each use.
- On rolling ladders, it’s critical to ensure the:
o Rubber feet/caps are in place on the ladder feet and that the wheels properly retract.
o Rubber caps haven’t become hard/brittle and that the ladder frame hasn’t pushed through the feet, decreasing the traction available.
o Wheel/spring assemblies move freely and aren’t stuck/wedged down, preventing the feet from contacting the floor.
- As rolling ladders are replaced, select ladders with locking mechanisms that help keep them in position while in use.
- Remind employees they should always maintain three points of contact while using ladders. If they need to move product while ascending or descending a ladder, it should be done one step at a time so they can still maneuver safely.
- Train employees to follow the “belt buckle rule,” keeping their belt buckle within the side rails of the ladder. To prevent falls, employees shouldn’t overreach to the side or behind them.
- Instruct employees on how to set up a ladder in the proper position for their work, with the expectation they’ll descend the ladder and reposition, as necessary.
Contact your Loss Control representative for assistance in establishing inspection processes or understanding the training required for the use of ladders.