Home ladder safety woes #HazardSpotting

| February 17, 2015

#HazardSpotting is a community safety initiative that helps raise awareness about dangerous workplace safety violations. In our 17th edition, we’re examining home ladder safety in a dangerous icicle-removal scene in Boston.

Up and down the northeast, temperatures are dipping into the negatives. Mother Nature has unleashed foot after foot of snow on cities across New England. We’d like to remind you of the importance of staying safe in this frozen period with a short, revealing home ladder safety #HazardSpotting post.

This man is putting himslef in a precarious situation trying to knock off icicles from a house.

This man trying to knock icicles from a house is putting himself in a precarious situation.

Icicles are created by snow that melts down a roof’s edge and then refreezes. When icicles are hanging over your roof, there are several considerations, including avoiding damage to both your home and person, to take into account. According to GreenHomes America, you should not swing at icicles “unless there is the risk of injury from falling ice.” Attempting to remove icicles can often damage the roof or other parts of your home.

While we can assume the gentleman in the photo justly based his decision to confront the icicles on concern that they’d fall and harm someone below, he nonetheless subjected himself to unnecessary hazards. Let’s analyze what went wrong, and how he could have approached the task with a safer mindset.

Here is a zoomed-in version.

Here’s a zoomed-in version.

The most concerning issue is that the man appears to be standing on the top three rungs of the ladder and is leaning out to the side, ditching his center of gravity to knock off the icicles, a practice the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission strongly advises against.

If you are unable to do the job safely, it’s important to consider alternative modes of reaching the icicles while mitigating potential hazards. It appears that the window directly to the left of the ladder could have been opened to complete the job from the inside, using an extra-long pole  At the same time, it’s crucial to avoid leaning out too much from inside so as not to fall from the window.

Have you noticed a situation where home ladder safety wasn’t kept in mind this winter? Let us know and, in the meantime, stay warm!

For occupational ladder safety regulations, visit OSHA’s site.

More about #HazardSpotting

Think you’ve seen an unsafe work condition? Whether it’s construction, manufacturing, or food safety, we’ll investigate the hazard. Snap a picture and share your story with us by sending an email to the editor at Monica (at) SmartSign (dot) com. We’ll write a post and consult a safety expert.

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