Slips and falls cause more injuries among U.S. farm and ranch workers than any other type of injury. There are two types of falls — elevated falls and same-level falls.
Most elevated falls occur from heights of 10 feet or less and are easily preventable. Common examples are falls from vehicles, equipment, loading docks, buildings and ladders.
Use these 10 safety guidelines from Jesse LaPrade, farm-safety specialist with the Alabama cooperative Extension service, to help prevent elevated falls.
1. Never use the top three rungs of a straight ladder or the top two rungs of a stepladder.
2. Always place ladders on a solid, non-slip surface.
3. Never reach too far to the left or right while on a ladder.
4. Follow the three-point rule — two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet on the ladder at all times.
5. Never allow riders on tractors, equipment or truck beds.
6. Keep the steps/ladders on tractors, trucks, wagons and trailers clean and dry.
7. When dismounting equipment, hold onto the side rails and step down slowly. Never skip steps or jump from steps.
8. Establish well-designed traffic patterns, and use abrasive, skid-resistant surface coatings on loading areas.
9. Use a protective device that doesn’t restrict work activity, such as a safety harness, when working at high elevations.
10. Instruct employees to report all slips and falls to their supervisor — even if there was no injury.