From the Archives: Ladder Safety #2

A contractor was attempting to survey roof damage from a storm. As he climbed the ladder provided by the property owner, he fell on reaching the top of the ladder while attempting to step off onto the roof.

An ACS expert was assigned to investigate. The fiberglass extension ladder was rented while lacking foot pads. The ground material on which it stood for accessing the roof was smooth metal. As discussed in an ACS expert’s paper recently submitted to The Physics Teacher (July 2020), the side forces at the feet of a ladder maximize as the climber reaches the top. The contractor fell when one of the feet slid causing the ladder to become unstable. Neither the rental company, the property owner, nor the contractor inspected the ladder prior to use. Securing the ladder from slipping was not undertaken.

For more information on extension ladder safety visit:
OSHA Safe Use of Extension Ladders Factsheet