Smart Technology and the Future of Ladder Safety
At STO Building Group, safety is a core value, embodied in our Safety 360⁰ program. As part of our innovative culture, we continue to search for new ways of working that reduce or eliminate our risk for injuries on our project sites. By partnering with external vendors, we have collaborated on bringing a new innovation to deliver solutions to the market, specifically for ladder safety.
Ladders are an essential piece of daily equipment for construction trade professionals and exist in almost every home within the United States. From changing out a lightbulb to getting on top of a roof, frequent of use means ladder-related injuries and accidents are often far too common—in fact, more than 700 ladder injuries occur every day in the country and falls from ladders are a leading cause of fatalities on construction sites. As March marks National Ladder Safety Month, spearheaded by the American Ladder Institute (ALI), there’s no better time than now to highlight advancements in ladder safety technology.
As our industry begins to change, so do our tools. To address the seriousness of ladder-related falls, the “smart” ladder, a breakthrough product, is currently being tested to reduce the number of falls from ladders. By placing a wireless sensor on ladders, the connected “smart” ladder will detect and issues instant alerts of unsafe ladder use. One of the most obvious ways a smart ladder could potentially reduce accidents is by notifying the user of a potentially dangerous event.
Just like a blind-spot alert for vehicles, a smart ladder alert can notify a user that their ladder activity is exceeding the safe tolerances and that they should correct the behavior. Exceeding the ladder’s weight limit, leaning too far to one side, standing on the top steps of the ladder, and climbing on the wrong side of the ladder are just a few common examples of unsafe usage. The notifications provide the user with direct feedback and information helpful to avoid preventable accidents.
Since injuries occur when a user is unaware of incorrectly using a piece of equipment, an automated system that collects data, identifies potentially high-risk uses, and notifies workers and responsible supervisors reduces the probability of having an accident due to unidentified hazards.
Awareness is a tremendous advantage as it gives the user and others an ability to assess if there is a problem and how any issues might be addressed in advance of negative consequences such as an incident or accident. Connected “smart” ladders are an excellent example of technology that helps us stay aware of our equipment use on project sites, is within our reach, and has the potential to reduce accidents and fatalities while generally improving the wellbeing of workers and their families.
For more information about the ladder safety technology we are piloting now, click here: (https://youtu.be/A11tmzUIms0Go to https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FA11tmzUIms0&data=04%7C01%7CCCascio%40totalsafety.org%7C929ed4181585413b3cd808d9f7bda7cf%7C65f748c079cb46c9b1ebdd186c413ee8%7C1%7C0%7C637813216211723054%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=HnYy%2FCi5n%2FHB3n1LixpqyVzKsebsfsfqlJPs42KbG0s%3D&reserved=0).