March is National Ladder Safety Month. Accidents resulting from fall protection and ladders are among the most frequently cited violations of workplace safety standards, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Linda Midyett, vice president and loss control director for PestSure, said the pest control industry is no stranger to the risks presented by falls and ladder usage.
“Pest control professionals deploy ladders and fall protection every day to perform services for customers,” Midyett said in the news release. “With an increase in the demand for bird management services and the need to access attics, crawlspaces and roofs of both commercial and residential structures, technicians are spending more time on ladders and lifts.”
As a result, Midyett encourages company owners and managers to schedule regular ladder safety and fall protection training for their employees. She also encourages pest control professionals to take the time to carefully consider the following variables before stepping on a ladder to perform a service:
- The length of time the job will require.
- The materials and tools required.
- The worksite setup.
“If the job requires extended hours working from a ladder, carrying excessive loads while climbing a ladder, and overreaching while on the ladder, consider the options of using a scaffold or an aerial lift,” said Midyett.
Selecting the correct ladder for the job at hand and following proper set up and usage practices is essential to safe ladder usage.
PestSure offers the following ladder safety checklist for pest control companies to include in their ladder safety education and protocols:
- Make sure the ladder is the proper height or length for the job.
- Confirm the ladder type is suitable for the job at hand and are reaches the level you will need to access.
- Check the ladder set up, location, and stability before each climb.
- Inspect the ladder before each climb.
- Determine how long will you be working from the ladder.
- Make certain the ladder is stable and secure once set.
- Consider your total weight including any tools or materials you will take with you on the ladder.
- If the ladder is near exposed electrical conductors use one made of non-conductive material.
Midyett reminds workers to keep three points of contact and keep your body between the side rails as you climb, work from and descend the ladder. And if the work you are doing requires you to leave the ladder onto an elevated surface, be certain to review and implement your fall protection plan.