September 16, 2014
An electrician was using a 6-foot step ladder to install some wiring up in an 11-foot-high suspended ceiling. He was standing on the second step from the top of the ladder, reaching out to clip some flex from a wire and using another ceiling wire for balance. When the wire pulled out, the worker lost his balance, fell over the top, and landed on his wrists and face.
Standing on the second step from the top of a typical 6-foot stepladder is risky because there are no hand rails for support. Even a momentary loss of balance increases the risk of a fall.
The worker might have prevented the fall by using a taller stepladder and standing on a lower step. Using a different type of ladder might have prevented the fall, too. In this case, the worker could have used a 6-foot fiberglass platform ladder, which would provide a stable working surface and a safety guard rail for support.
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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.