Ladder Safety 101

Written By Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

NOTE: This information is being provided for your use/reference after the current Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order has been rescinded, lifted or changed to allow outdoor building maintenance.

It is the season to get out there and start doing spring cleaning, outdoor building maintenance and stretching out winter’s cramps! While we may want to get some of these ‘to-do’ items off our list and start enjoying the nice weather, it is important that ensuring all equipment is inspected, maintained and tested before use, especially ladders! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ladders have accounted for over 20,000 injures in the year 2015, with more than 150 deaths. OSHA has ladders listed on the OSHA “Top 10” most cited violations almost every year. Below is what you need to be doing in order to stay safe while using a ladder.

Getting the Correct Ladder
When going to purchase a ladder, ensure that you get a ladder that fits the task. If the ladder is going to be used around roofs and areas that may have live wires around, look for “Non-conductive side rails.” Also, ensure that the ladder’s type and duty rating is suited to the work that it will be used for. Understand that some ladders are only rated for 200 pounds and the weight of an individual and everything that they may have on (i.e. equipped tool belt) while going up a ladder should be factored in. Knowing that you have the correct ladder is the first step in ensuring a safe climb!

Training
Employers must provide some means of training for employees who are required to use ladders. During this training, the employee must be able to learn about ladder-related hazards and injuries and also learn how to inspect and use a ladder properly. This training should occur before an employee is even allowed to use a ladder and annually thereafter.

Inspection

Inspect a ladder prior to each day of use. This inspection should be made by a competent person who has been trained in what to look for. Things to be included in an inspection checklist are no structural damage, labels and stickers are clearly visible, there are no cracks or significant dents anywhere, all cleats/steps are fixed securely, ladders are free of liquids or dusts that would cause a slip hazard, and all hinges, ropes, and bolts/screws/rivets are securely fastened. Know that a well-maintained ladder can last a long time and save you money!

Use

Ensure that you retrieve a ladder properly and are lifting it ergonomically and safely. While ladders may not weigh a lot, their size and proportions make them feel a lot heavier than they really are. Encourage workers to use team lifting practices if a ladder is too large or heavy for one individual. When placing a ladder, ensure it’s at the proper angle. When a ladder is placed against something, the bottom of the ladder should be one-quarter of the ladder’s working length away from the wall. This is known as the “ladder 4 to 1 rule.” For access to an elevated work surface, such as a roof, extend the top of the ladder 36 inches above the resting surface. Always maintain at least three contact points when climbing up or down a ladder. This includes either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. A point of contact can only be established through a hand or foot and does not include wrapping your arm around a step or leaning against the ladder. It is best practice to put tools or other materials inside a bucket and pull them up safely with rope or other means, rather than carrying them by hand up the ladder. Always face the ladder when going up or down and take extra caution when you get on or off the ladder.
 

Ladders are replaceable, but people are not! If you or your employees are unsure about the safety of a ladder, it is best to dispose of or recycle it, if metal. Wooden ladders may have hidden damage. Using them is not encouraged. They should not be painted. Keeping up-to-date with OSHA and other local regulations ensures that you stay on top of the most current rules and policies.For more information, visit OSHA.gov, your local safety agency, or email me at daday@CompOne.net.

Posted in 2020, May 2020 | Comments Off on Ladder Safety 101

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Vice President Government Affairs and Industry Relations

House of Representatives Passes Emotional Support Animal Legislation

Just prior to the COVID-19 shutdown the Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation supported by AAM to strengthen state law to help prevent the false representation of possession of an emotional support animal (ESA). House Bill 4910, introduced last September, would create the “Misrepresentation of Emotional Support Animals Act.” This bill proposes the following:

  • A definitional framework for state law
  • Bars individuals and health care providers from falsely representing a disability or possession of an ESA
  • Allow disability documentation requests by housing providers after resident signs authorization
  • Requirements for health care providers who prescribe ESAs
  • Criminal penalties for violations of the law
  • Allowance for lease termination for false representation
  • Directive to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to establish a hotline which would receive reports of false representations and complaints

A second bill, House Bill 4911, would amend the Revised Judicature Act to support termination of a lease for misrepresentation of an emotional support animal. Both of the bills now move to the Michigan Senate for consideration.

AAM COVID-19 Resource Page

A reminder that AAM has established a COVID-19 resource page at www.apartments.org. This resource page includes CDC guidance and business information to help rental property owners.

Have A Builder’s License? Don’t Forget Your Continuing Competency

Some AAM Members hold a Michigan Residential Builders License even though they may not be currently building. If you wish to maintain your license, please remember that the State of Michigan requires you to complete three hours of “continuing competency” by your license renewal deadline of May 31, 2020. AAM and HBA are holding three hour classes (covering each of the required categories – one hour codes, one hour legal and one hour safety) which will provide you what you need to comply. Visit HBA’s website for online registration at www.builders.org/events.php

Posted in 2020, May 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

The Key To A Successful Safety Culture

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

Common safety slogans of companies who have taken that first step toward building a safety culture include:

  • Our goal is zero accidents
  • We believe all accidents are avoidable
  • Safety is our #1 priority.

Or, maybe this is something that your company has once said. While these are all great statements, they are only just that: statements, and a statement is only the first step. Many companies stop after creating a safety manual or policy and having the employees sign it saying they are responsible for their safety, but this is only the beginning of their safety culture!

What Is A Safety Culture?
Before we go into finding the key to a safety culture, what exactly is a safety culture and why it is important to you as an employer or manager? A safety culture is the combination of knowledge, ability for continuous improvement, and willingness to participate in all things safety. It is not one person’s job, but encompasses the entire group of employees, customers, visitors and guests. If your safety stops once an employee signs a safety policy, then this article is the perfect place to start!
The key to a successful safety culture is: Top-Down Support and Bottom-Up Involvement.Top-Down Support
The President, Chairperson, Owner, CEO, or whomever is in charge of your company or business, is ultimately the spokesperson and the “leader” of your employees. There is no single person who is more influential in the safety culture. Their support is ultimately the foundation of your safety culture. Having them speak on safety, distribute safety information, or simply provide recognition of safe acts is what promotes this culture. If you do have a safety manual or policy, ensure that this leader is active in the creation of it and they endorse it at all levels.
Next, is to have all, or most of all, upper levels of management partake in safety to some extent. It could be as simple as having a quarterly or bi-annual safety meeting where they review past incidents and safety concerns and speak about what direction the culture of safety is headed. Do anything you can achieve to get them involved and brought up to speed on their company’s or business’s safety. This is seen by all levels as the appreciation for employee’s well-being and has immediate rewards by increased employee morale.Lastly, if your company or business is small, or does not have upper management, it is important that you lead by example. Show up to job sites with the correct PPE, encourage safety training, promote your safety culture and your employees will allow it to grow.

Bottom-Up Involvement
Participation is key from all levels, including the individual with no experience that you just hired. The biggest set-back to a successful safety culture is when an employee does not feel that their input matters or it goes unheard. If an employee makes a suggestion, ensure that you do what you can to implement it. Even if it may seem silly, it encourages them to be more active in your building of safety culture and could lead to a great safety idea or implementation. If you don’t have a form that employees can fill out for safety ideas or any other continuous improvement ideas, then create one. Even if it hardly gets used, it will still make employees feel empowered. Additionally, if you do have a safety meeting, extend the invitation to all levels of employment.Hold safety events, luncheon trainings, or give prizes that are all aimed at promoting and encouraging safety with all levels. These events allow an introduction into your beginning safety culture and jump start something that may not even be thought about until you first bring light to it.

Wherever you start, the most important thing that you can do is to take that first step and keep following up with it. Sometimes safety gets set aside or it is assumed that “accidents happen.” Not believing in that misconception and forming your own safety culture will improve your safety, reduce workers’ comp costs and frequency and greatly improve employee morale.

Should you require assistance, please contact Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Inc. at daday@compone.net.

Posted in 2020, APRIL 2020 | Comments Off on The Key To A Successful Safety Culture

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Prompt Payment Legislation Introduced

Legislation requiring prompt payment for labor, materials and services in private construction contracts has been proposed in the Michigan House of Representatives. While the bill exempts single family residential and attached residential of less than 7 units, apartment buildings 7 units and over are included with all other types of private commercial construction projects. The legislation mandates that construction contracts between an owner and general contractor include a clause requiring payment for satisfactory performance within 30 days from the end of the billing period (defined as the payment cycle agreed to by both parties, or, if no period is specified then the calendar month in which the work is performed). The bill also mandates a contract clause calling for 12% per annum interest on wrongfully withheld amounts due to the contractor. Further, the legislation stipulates a 7 calendar day payment clause in contractors’ contracts with subcontractors and suppliers, with the same 12% interest provision. Finally, the proposed legislation lays out a dispute notification and resolution process. House Bill 5375 has been referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism for consideration.

Census Bill Targets Multiunit Residences

A bill to prohibit an owner or operator of a “multiunit residence” from denying access to a federal census employee has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. House Bill 5597 would require the owner or operator to permit the census employee to leave census materials for residents at their doors. However, the legislation would not prohibit the owner/operator from requiring a prior appointment to gain access. A “multiunit residence” would include apartment buildings, dorms, mobile home parks, or an area in which 2 or more single-family dwellings are located on private roadways. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations for consideration.

Smoke Alarm Standard Proposed

House Bill 5407 would ban the distribution/sale of smoke alarms powered by replaceable and removeable batteries in Michigan beginning April 1, 2022. The bill further requires that smoke alarms distributed/sold after April 1, 2022 must be powered for not less than 10 years by a nonremovable and nonreplaceable battery or by another power source utilizing new technology. The legislation would not apply to hard-wired or wirelessly linked alarms.
Posted in 2020, APRIL 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Legislation Proposes To Make Certain Evictions More Difficult

Recently introduced legislation in the Michigan Senate would make it more difficult to evict in cases involving controlled substances or threats of physical injury. Under current summary proceedings law, a landlord is entitled to recover possession of premises in cases of controlled substances when a formal police report is filed alleging that the person has unlawfully manufactured, delivered, possessed with intent to deliver, or possessed a controlled substance. Senate Bill 720 would change that standard for delivery, possession with intent to deliver, and possession from a formal police report to an actual conviction. The standard for unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance would remain as a formal police report. Further, current law states that you can recover possession in instances where the tenant or member of the tenant’s household has caused or threatened physical injury to another individual, and the police department has been notified. This legislation would change that standard of simple notification of the police to an actual conviction of a crime.

HUD Issues New Assistance Animal Guidance

At the end of January the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced new guidance to clarify apartment owners’ responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act when a request is made for an assistance animal. The guidance provides best practices for assessing reasonable accommodation requests and documenting a resident’s need for an assistance animal. It also differentiates service animals from support animals. The guidance can be found at www.hud.gov.

Have A Builder’s License? Don’t Forget Your Continuing Competency
Some AAM Members hold a Michigan Residential Builder License even though they may not be currently building. If you wish to maintain your license, please remember that the State of Michigan requires you to complete three hours of “continuing competency” by your renewal deadline of May 31, 2020.
AAM and HBA are holding three hour classes (covering each of the required categories – one hour codes, one hour legal and one hour safety) which will provide you what you need to comply. Visit HBA’s website for online registration at www.builders.org.
Posted in 2020, MARCH 2020 | Comments Off on Advocacy Update