Falls from an elevation are a leading cause of death amongst contraction workers, and one third of those falls are from ladders. However, some of these fatalities could be prevented simply with the implementation of the three-point control technique.
Even though ladders have been around for most of recorded history, they haven't changed much in function and design since their primitive origins. This simple design is so practical almost everyone uses it; on the other hand, it is so basic it is also easy to misuse and can be dangerous.
Moving a ladder while a co-worker remained on the ladder platform led to a fall that – six months later – proved fatal, according to a Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) reportfrom NIOSH.
The incident occurred on December 12, 2015, when two men employed by a municipality were dusting crown molding in a meeting room inside city hall. The 68-year-old victim had finished dusting a section of molding and the ladder needed to be moved to continue the task.
Factors contributing to falls from ladders include haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, the condition of the ladder (worn or damaged), the user's age or physical condition, or both, and the user's footwear.
Every day 2,000 people are injured in a ladder-related accident. One hundred of those people suffer a long-term or permanent disability. And every day, one person dies; the numbers are continuing to rise.
If you could prevent 29 worker deaths and 5,842 lost-workday injuries each year1, would you? Those estimates were a major reason OSHA updated 1971’s General Industry CFR 1910 regulations for Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems at the end of 2016.
Because using a ladder is such a familiar skill, it can be easy to overlook the need for safe operating procedures in the workplace. However, ladders continue to be a contributing factor in more than 150 fatalities and 20,000 non-fatal workplace injuries each year.
When it comes to ladder safety, there’s a difference between three-point control and the traditional three-point contact rule. Three-point control is a climbing method that involves always using three or four limbs distributed over three or four locations for reliable support. Three-point contact involves simply coming into contact with the ladder at three points without necessarily requiring a reliable hand grip for support.
Falling from height is one of the leading causes of work-related injuries and death. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics documents nearly 750 fall-related fatalities a year and another 300,000 nonfatal falls. More surprising than even that? Every single fall is 100-percent preventable.