Clark Griswold and Portable Ladder Safety

As it is the time of year to begin taking down holiday decorations, the topic of portable ladder safety should be addressed. There are various ways to teach and model proper safety techniques in the use of these types of ladders. One of the best is by using humor and my personal favorite is Chevy Chase playing Clark Griswold in the National Lampoon’s movies. Chase’s use of slapstick or physical comedy often has the desired effect of teaching people the best ways to NOT do a task.

Let’s put together one of the classic scenes from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and apply OSHA’s Ladder Safety Requirements in 29 CFR 1926.1053 to it to see just how bad Clark Griswold is at safety. To view the scene, click here. To view OSHA’s Portable Ladder Safety Quick Card™, click here.

So, here is the comparison. Below is the requirement as listed on the Portable Ladder Safety Quick Card™ followed by how Clark is in violation of it.  See if you can find any I missed in my assessment.

  1. Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.

VIOLATION: This one is questionable, but given Clark’s way of working it is doubtful the yellow safety sticker on the side of the ladder was checked before it was removed from the garage and set into place.

  1. Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before Continue Reading…
OSHA Safety
Stand-Down for What?

Updated injury and incident reports from OSHA

From Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2014 there were 5589 ladder incidents reported that have resulted in injury and even death according to OSHA. 14 incidents additionally reported for ladder hooks, 90 more for ladder jack scaffold and another 8840 incidents including death under fall protection. These numbers really just scratch the surface. There are many incidents that appear under other categories that involve ladders and falls. Fall incidents within the past month are presented in the table below. More information is available on OSHA’s website (

Date of Incident Preliminary Description of Incident Fatality or Catastrophe Inspection #
3/3/2015 Worker cleaning window killed in fall. Fatality 1044021
3/2/2015 Worker killed in fall through gap between jet and jet bridge. Fatality N/a
2/25/2015 Worker on stilts hanging drywall killed in fall. Fatality 1043899
2/24/2015 Worker killed in fall from manlift. Fatality 1042122
2/24/2015 Worker welding on steel decking killed in fall. Fatality 1042893
2/23/2015 Worker killed in fall on portable stairs. Fatality 102416049
2/22/2015 Worker on snow-covered roof killed in fall through skylight. Fatality 1042748
2/21/2015 Worker died after falling on showroom floor. Fatality 1042262
2/19/2015 Worker killed in fall from top of boat. Fatality 1041497
2/18/2015 Worker killed in fall from roof. Fatality 963192
2/18/2015 Worker killed in fall from flatbed trailer. Fatality 100367473
2/18/2015 Worker on roof killed in fall through skylight. Fatality 1041220
2/17/2015 Worker slipped and suffered fatal fall on ice. Fatality 1041590
2/17/2015 Worker clearing power lines from tree killed in fall from bucket lift. Fatality 1040571
2/16/2015 Worker fatally engulfed by gravel after falling into silo during cleaning operations. Fatality 1041096
2/12/2015 Worker killed in fall from ladder. Fatality N/a
2/12/2015 Worker killed in fall from ladder. Fatality N/a
2/10/2015 Worker killed in fall from steel structure. Fatality 1040413
2/10/2015 Worker killed in fall from Continue Reading…