I have twice, and although I wasn’t injured either time, I’ve never been more frightened. Others haven’t been as lucky. OSHA estimates that there are nearly 25,000 ladder-related injuries in construction each year (half of them resulting in days lost from work) and “as many as 36 fatalities.” Probably the most common way people die with ladders doesn’t even involve falling – it’s electrocution from contacting overhead lines.

No one wants anything like that to happen on their jobs, nor do they want the hassle and expense of failing an OSHA inspection. But who actually knows about ladder safety? Not many of us. One way to be proactive is to have your crews take the free online ladder safety courses offered by the American Ladder Institute (laddersafetytraining.org). It offers four online modules, three of which are applicable to deck builders. The longest of the three is only 25 minutes, time well-spent.