Fall Causes Death, Ladder’s are Killers

Fall Causes Death, Ladder’s are Killers

A Tool Box Talk Case Study: Why Take Ladders Seriously

Introduction: This is a true story only the first name of the victim has been changed. One of our friends wrote: “I lost a good friend September 15, 1997 from a fall from a roof. It seems that my friend Leroy went to help a neighbor with a leaking roof problem.”

Guide for Discussionladders

It was on a low pitched single story home (a 3/12 or 4/12 pitched roof), about eight foot ground to eaves’s height. From family reports, Leroy borrowed a ladder from the neighbor to go up and temporarily fix the problem. However, it was just the top half of an extension ladder without safety feet on the bottom.

Leroy placed the ladder on a painted concrete patio, leaning against the house, with just one rung above the landing surface. Carrying a large rock to hold down the felt, Leroy went up the ladder.

While going up the ladder, the two friends continued their conversation. When Leroy got ready to step off the ladder, the ladder slipped and fell away. Leroy dropped the rock as he fell backward eight to ten feet. The rock bounced on the patio; Leroy hit the back of his head on the rock. He died later that night never having regained consciousness. He left four children (two of whom are contractors) and four grandchildren.

Leroy was an experienced concrete finisher, framer, finished carpenter, and roofer—a skilled “woodworker” according to his obituary. He was careless. I will miss Leroy. His children and grandchildren will miss him more; our sympathies go to the family. However, his accident was preventable.

There are about a dozen “common sense” safety violation lessons learned from Leroy’s death. What lessons can you learn from this?

Remember: Tragedies remind us that fall’s from ladders or roofs are serious and can be fatal. Every once in a while we need to be reminded why we have safety rules—and why they need to be followed. Don’t you take unnecessary chances by using the wrong tool.