Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

August 20, 2013


Portable ladders: Where did the "quarter length rule" come from?

H.A. Hepburn mechanics of ladder use

Let's say you want to paint a window frame on the side of a house, which is 14 feet directly above a level cement sidewalk. You have a 24-foot extension ladder and, to be safe, you want the ladder to remain in place on the sidewalk while you're painting. If you know the weight of the ladder and the coefficient of static friction between the ladder and the sidewalk, you can calculate the maximum angle the ladder can make with the sidewalk before it slips. Of course, it helps to have a background in physics and Newtonian mechanics to do the calculation.

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Temporary workers and workplace safety

temporary labor

Temporary workers are typically the first to be laid off during recessions and first to be hired when customer demand picks up. Oregon's temporary help industry accounted for 1.8 percent of covered employment in 2011, but about 7 percent of the increase in total covered employment during that year.

As the economy slowly improves, a rising trend among employers is to hire temporary workers, particularly in the construction industry.

Unfortunately, many temporary workers are not aware that they have the same right to a safe workplace as other workers.

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Health hazards in construction

Lead exposure

In Oregon, construction industry employers receive more citations for violations of lead, asbestos, hazard communication, and respiratory protection standards than other health standards. Typically, one or two paragraphs in each standard account for most of the citations.

This is the first in a series of articles in the Construction Depot that explain the requirements of each standard's most frequently cited paragraphs.

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Central Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Conference is Sept. 18-19

Central Oregon Safety & Health Association Conference

The annual Central Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Conference is coming to the Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond Sept. 18-19. The conference is themed "Does your safety and health program have you covered?" and offers a number of workshops that can improve your company's safety program. Topics include:

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Reprinting, excerpting, or plagiarizing any part of this publication is fine with us!

But remember: the information in this newsletter is intended to highlight safe work practices, but it does not replace Oregon OSHA workplace safety and health rules.

For information about Oregon OSHA services and answers to technical questions, call (503) 378-3272 or toll-free within Oregon, (800) 922-2689.