With its bloated welfare roles and generous provision of jobless benefits, Maine is seen by many as the ultimate Nanny State. The state’s newest online tool will do little to counter this reputation.
The Maine Department of Labor on Monday unveiled a smart phone application that will help prevent fall injuries by aiding in the proper use of ladders. Yes, the state is now helping citizens learn proper ladder use.
Worry not: the app was developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, meaning taxpayers did not directly subsidize this Nanny State endeavor.
Here’s the press release:
AUGUSTA- Maine employees have a new tool in the toolbox-or app on the phone-to keep them safer on a ladder. The app aids users in proper use of ladders, and assists with ladder selection, inspection, positioning, accessorizing and safe use.
The new app is useful for workers in addition to those who are using ladders in the yard or around the home. Falls are most common in the construction industry, but can occur in any industry from healthcare to retail industries.
“Sadly, these falls happen too often,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “But falling off a ladder can be prevented by taking a few simple steps. People using ladders at home or work can now double-check their safety with this app. We want to make sure that all Mainers stay safe when they are using ladders.”
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) created the Ladder Safety Tool to provide safety information on mobile devices. Fall-related injuries present serious risk to workers in all industry settings. According to the National Safety Council, falls are the leading cause of death in the workplace and the second-leading cause of death in homes and communities.
Fall injuries can create an enormous financial burden to workers. The National Safety Council reports that approximately $70 billion in workers’ compensation and medical costs are associated with occupational fall incidents annually in the United Sates. In Maine, there were 114 workers’ compensation claims in 2012 due to falls from ladders that prevented the injured worker from returning to work for at least a whole day. This number has been on the rise since 2009, and does not include hundreds of other falls from ladders in residences or workplace falls where the employee returned to work the next day.
“Use common sense when on ladders and don’t rush,” reminded Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “It’s important for employees to be properly trained in equipment use and safety techniques to avoid serious injury. SafetyWorks! consultants can help employers identify ways to improve their safety procedures, like using this new app, and provide training at no cost to the business. This, in turn, saves money spent on workers’ comp and lost productivity, not to mention preventing injuries and deaths.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that workers and employers plan the job ahead, provide the right equipment and train everyone how to use equipment. Additional information about fall prevention is available at https://www.osha.gov/
The NIOSH Ladder Safety app is available for iPhone/ iPad and Android phones here: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/
Ever look at a new ladder at your local hardware store or lumberyard? Ever wonder why there are so many stickers on it? Well, the answer is simple:
The improper use of ladders leads to a lot of injuries, and the occasional fatality.
Insurance companies don’t like to pay unnecessary claims, and my guess is that most businesses don’t want to see their workman’s comp take a hit because someone was unfamiliar with proper ladder use and safety (it’s expensive, as is noted above).
But in the whacky world of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, it’s a dog eat dog world out there, where everyone should be utterly self-reliant.
Thank goodness I can now find out how to use a ladder – oh wait, I don’t have a smart phone.
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