Ladder & Safety Issues Revisited

by | Apr 21, 2014 | Safe Practices | 2 comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Broken Rung

Broken Rung

Anytime you are up over 6′ off the ground all sorts of hazards make themselves apparent. OSHA has some strict fall protection training for construction which are good guidelines for homeowners everywhere.

Use safety procedures when you are over 6′ up.

Ladder falls are responsible for an amazing number of emergency department admissions, they usually involve fractures of the lower extremities but more serious falls can cause what I like to call the “Humpy-Dumpty syndrome.”

Being a safety nut I have deputized my employees to keep an eye out for others as well. Turns out we humans are fragile. We are also prone to breakage. Gravitational injuries of any distance are pretty darn devastating.

To make sure we are all on the same page Levco holds quarterly safety meetings to review our policies and guidelines for these low frequency high risk activities. Anyone on our team can “STOP THE LINE” if danger is eminent.

I was visiting a job site where gutters were being installed and saw this bottom rung on a ladder. Rather than fix it themselves, they thanked me profusely for saying something. They not only replaced it, they provided it to me for this article.

What was the worst thing you ever saw?

As a paramedic, I have been to all sorts of ladder injuries but the most devastating was when a father and son were moving an aluminum extension ladder to trim a tree and were electrocuted and killed together. Turns out electricity can jump from high tension wires. Idaho Power says 10′ is the safe distance away from them. OK, that wasn’t the worst, but it was pretty bad.

These are just a few of my stories

      1. I was at a the home of a client who was way up on a fiberglass extension ladder while one of the legs buckled and he took a slow motion fall off to side and down to the ground. Turns out skimping on a quality ladder can hurt you in more than just the back pocket.
      2. I was working on a roof with a friend who lost his footing and slid off while I watched helplessly, he hit the first floor pop out bounced and landed in a pile of dust on his back ala Wiley Coyote, fortunately he was not hurt seriously.
      3. I slipped off some second story scaffolding that had a ladder attached. My cat like reflexes grabbed some stabilizing cross bars and prevented a catastrophic accident. In retrospect, it was a ridiculous thing for me to be up there in the first place. I was in a hurry and completely distracted by an inspector on the ground who had just arrived at the job site.
      4. My employee Ron misunderstood the instructions and put a safety rail tab on backwards, so when he grabbed it, the darn thing came right off. The fall wasn’t so bad Ron said, “it was the sudden stop that hurt his ankle”.
      5. I just heard about a guy in his 70’s that got out a ladder when his smoke alarm went off mysteriously. Imagine late at night, the lighting probably wasn’t so good either. In the rush to get the darn thing to quiet down he climbed up. Do you think he was ripe for an accident. He was, and it was a catastrophic fall at that.
      6. Diane threw a subcontractors ladder in the trash, after explaining that it was not safe to use on our projects. I later cut it up and recycled it to make sure someone didn’t decide to take out and use it.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled


A creative alternative use for an old ladder

    1. Rickety ladders are everywhere! I used to think it was OK because around the home they are rarely used but I know better now.  Our climate dries wood out which causes poor connections and tipping or collapse. I am encouraging folks to repurpose old ladders into book shelves or towel racks. In fact, there are some cool things that can be done with an old wooden ladder.

I told a potential client that if she selected me as her contractor, I would replace her ladder because I liked her and her husband that much. Although I tried to take it with me they had some crazy connection with the darn thing and I’m sure it is still an accident waiting for a time to happen.

Hot tips

I ran into a fellow named Mark Kim who is an insurance adjustor for Farmers. He had some great suggestions

      1. Standing with you feet at the ladder base hold your arms extended to grasp the sides of the ladder rails. this should give you the correct angle.
      2. Extend the ladder approximately 3 feet past the height of the thing you are climbing to.
      3. Never step on a rung above the thing you are climbing to.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261
If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor please contact me, you’ll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Related Posts

What Building “To Code” Means to Levco

What Building “To Code” Means to Levco

A long time ago I realized that "To code" was said to express that there was a minimum level of construction technique and materials that was required to pass an inspection. This "To Code" language was used to instill confidence in the client to know that even if a...

read more
We Only Remodel 20 Homes A Year

We Only Remodel 20 Homes A Year

At Levco we decided to be a quality contractor years ago and for nearly 2 decades we have done about 20 projects a year. This means that no matter how many leads we go out on or how many clients get into design we have maxed out our availability to do remodeling...

read more

Leave A Comment


  1. Heather


    Great topic! Love the cat like reflexes! My Grandpa fell off of a 6 foot ladder in the early 80’s and completely shattered his elbow. It was horrible, he was out of work for over a year.

    Thank you for sharing the education as well as personal experiences.


    • Joe Levitch

      Thanks Heather, you are welcome, I believe it is my responsibility to get the word out about this sort of thing. Incidentally the gutter company has had two falls since I “red flagged” this ladder, so it isn’t just about faulty equipment. As I like to say it only takes a moment to do a “walk around” to verify that you are safe to proceed. Take care & be safe.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest Projects

Aged home interior makeover

Aged home interior makeover

Aged home interior makeoverThe Challenge This home was built in 1955 it had good bones. The kitchen had been remodeled by a previous owner and half of the garage had been converted into a den/laundry room. The clients wanted to open up the kitchen, add another...

Whole House Remodel

Whole House Remodel

Whole House RemodelThe Challenge Our client bought the 1014 SF original 1979 ranch-style home next to her son. Her goal was to update and modernize the home to how we live today.The Idea To completely remodel and update the home with a new floorplan.The Solution Levco...

Wake Boat- RV Bay Addition

Wake Boat- RV Bay Addition

Wake Boat- RV Bay AdditionThe Challenge The Owner had a 3 car garage but the 3rd car bay was too small for his new wake boat. There was room to make it larger.The Idea Expand the garage to the setback to add 10′ and make it taller and much deeper. Sacrificing a window...

Large RV Garage From Scratch

Large RV Garage From Scratch

Large RV Garage From ScratchThe Challenge The Owner had drawings of a large RV garage to be added to a 2 car garage where a shed was. The new project was woven into an existing garage roofline to make it appear that it had always been there.The Idea Eliminate the shed...