How to Practice Effective Ladder Safety

March is National Ladder Safety Month. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), ladder incidents cause more than 15,000 nonfatal injuries involving days away from work a year, and about 34,000 nonfatal injuries treated in emergency departments.

Here are tips from OSHA to keep you safe while using a ladder:

  • Keep ladders free of oil, grease and other slip hazards.
  • Do not load ladders beyond their maximum intended load or beyond the manufacturer’s rated capacity.
  • Do not use ladders on slippery surfaces unless they are secured or provided with slip-resistant feet.
  • Take steps to secure ladders in areas where they can be displaced by work activities.
  • Keep areas clear around the top and bottom of ladders.
  • Do not move, shift or extend ladders while in use.
  • Use ladders equipped with nonconductive side rails if the worker or the ladder could contact exposed, energized electrical equipment.
  • Face the ladder when moving up or down.
  • Use at least one hand to grasp the ladder when climbing.
  • Do not carry objects or loads that could cause loss of balance and falling.

Space Heater Safety

Space Heaters

Portable electric space heaters provide an inexpensive and effective way to keep your office or work space warm during the colder months. If used improperly, however, space heaters can pose a significant risk of fire. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent space heater fires.

Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the heater you are using. In general, stick to the following guidelines when using a portable space heater to make sure you stay warm – and safe:

  • Make sure your space heater has a label showing it has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Before each use, inspect the heater for any signs of damage, such as a frayed cord or broken plug. If you see any signs of damage, do not use the heater.
  • Plug the heater directly into a wall outlet, not into a power strip or an extension cord, which can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Place the heater on a flat, level surface. Never place heaters on top of tables, filing cabinets or other furniture.
  • Place the heater in a spot with low foot traffic where it will not pose a tripping hazard. Make sure the heater is placed at least three feet away from anything that can burn, such as rugs and office paper.
  • Never leave your space heater unattended when it is on. Turn it off before you leave the room.
  • Before leaving work each day, unplug and safely store the heater.

Snow Shoveling Safety

Snow Shoveling

The important features in choosing a shovel include its weight, the weight of the material being moved, the handle type, and the shovel’s shaft length.

  • The weight of a shovel should match the type of job being done. A light shovel is suitable for light snow, but a sturdier one would be needed for wet, heavy snow.
  • The handle type is important. A D-grip handle helps keep your wrists in a neutral, untwisted position and can provide more comfort and control.
  • Longer shovel shafts ease the strain on back muscles, whereas shorter lengths have better stability when transferring the snow. A strong and light shaft is ideal.Make sure to wear gloves that protect your hands and improve your grip, and wear sturdy, nonslip footwear with good arch support. Follow these tips when shoveling:
  • Stand upright and bend your knees slightly so that your leg strength moves the load.
  • Keep your arms and elbows close to your body, and when you lift, use your legs instead of your back.
  • Instead of twisting your trunk, always turn your feet and body in the direction of where you want to drop the shovel’s load.
  • Do not throw the snow more than three to four feet, and be sure to turn your feet in the direction you are throwing the snow.
  • Never throw snow over your shoulder.
  • When you shovel snow quickly, the maximum weight of both shovel and load should not exceed 10 to 15 pounds.