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July 15, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2013
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
AUGUSTA— Maine employees have a new tool in the toolbox—or app on the phone—to keep them safer on a ladder. The app aids users in proper use of ladders, and assists with ladder selection, inspection, positioning, accessorizing and safe use.
The new app is useful for workers in addition to those who are using ladders in the yard or around the home. Falls are most common in the construction industry, but can occur in any industry from healthcare to retail industries.
“Sadly, these falls happen too often,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “But falling off a ladder can be prevented by taking a few simple steps. People using ladders at home or work can now double-check their safety with this app. We want to make sure that all Mainers stay safe when they are using ladders.”
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) created the Ladder Safety Tool to provide safety information on mobile devices. Fall-related injuries present serious risk to workers in all industry settings. According to the National Safety Council, falls are the leading cause of death in the workplace and the second-leading cause of death in homes and communities.
Fall injuries can create an enormous financial burden to workers. The National Safety Council reports that approximately $70 billion in workers’ compensation and medical costs are associated with occupational fall incidents annually in the United Sates. In Maine, there were 114 workers’ compensation claims in 2012 due to falls from ladders that prevented the injured worker from returning to work for at least a whole day. This number has been on the rise since 2009, and does not include hundreds of other falls from ladders in residences or workplace falls where the employee returned to work the next day.
“Use common sense when on ladders and don’t rush,” reminded Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “It’s important for employees to be properly trained in equipment use and safety techniques to avoid serious injury. SafetyWorks! consultants can help employers identify ways to improve their safety procedures, like using this new app, and provide training at no cost to the business. This, in turn, saves money spent on workers’ comp and lost productivity, not to mention preventing injuries and deaths.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that workers and employers plan the job ahead, provide the right equipment and train everyone how to use equipment. Additional information about fall prevention is available at https://www.osha.gov/stopfalls/index.html .
The NIOSH Ladder Safety app is available for iPhone/ iPad and Android phones here: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/falls .
Businesses can contact SafetyWorks! at 1-877-SAFE 345 (1-877-723-3345) or www.safetyworksmaine.com . SafetyWorks! provides a trained consultant with industry-specific expertise who will review the facility by appointment. The consultation may include such elements as recognizing safety hazards, sampling for air and noise exposures, recommending ways to reduce or to eliminate hazards, developing or improving a safety program, complying with federal OSHA regulations and identifying training needs.
SafetyWorks! is not OSHA and cannot issue fines or citations to private businesses. While SafetyWorks! helps businesses of any size, priority is given to small businesses. The program trains about 8,000 people and consults at nearly 1,000 worksites in Maine each year.
Hundreds of people fall of ladders each year in Maine. The state’s Department of Labor tracks those falls that resulted in the worker being unable to return to work for a least one full day. The number of these more severely injured fall victims is growing as this graph illustrates, rising steadily each year from 98 in 2009 to 114 in 2012. The new ladder app from NIOSH can help make sure ladders are at a proper angle for use.