It feels like every day there is an accident involving a ladder being reported in the news. Each of these stories is tragic and makes me think about what I can do to prevent these types of accidents. Having said that, every now and again, there is a story that makes me think even more about what I can do to make a difference and to prevent injuries and save lives. I recently ran into one of those stories.
I took this story personally because it happened so close to home for me. This story comes from Draper, Utah which is just about 40 minutes from me. Three men were repairing an air conditioner at the top of a building. They were bringing equipment up and down the ladder when the ladder fell into some power lines. The men weren’t on the ladder itself when it fell, but were touching the aluminum ladder. One of the men died and, as of the most recent update, the other two were in critical condition.
What Could Have Been Done
The first way to prevent this type of accident would have been to use a fiberglass ladder. The workers probably thought their aluminum ladder would work just fine since they weren’t working on electrical lines. However, this tragic story is a perfect example of why fiberglass ladders are appropriate for any job that is remotely close to the power line.
The second way to potentially prevent this accident would be to make sure the ladder is at the correct angle. Those reporting on the accident did not have enough information to know exactly what caused the ladder to fall, but, one potential cause would be having the ladder at the wrong angle. If the ladder is at too wide of angle, it can easily slip forward, but having it at too sharp of an angle could make the ladder fall backward. When using an extension ladder, the ladder should be angles to 75.5 degrees in order to prevent a fall.
This story is so sad. I hope the two men in critical condition are able to make a full recovery. Let us learn from their mistakes and remember to use the correct ladders at the correct angle.