Lost a ladder on the roadway

Friday I had a crew heading back to the shop and because they forgot to secure the 24ft extension to the ladder rack, it flew off the truck and landed in the roadway. Fortunately, a person stopped and pulled it out of the road while my guys turned around to retrieve it.

My question is what action would take with this employee? I’m planning on writing him up and letting him know if it happens again, he’s fired. Too harsh?

That’s not harsh at all. An unsecured ladder could very easily kill someone if it fell off at the right moment. Obviously he didn’t intend to leave it unsecured, but he needs to understand just how serious it is.

Yeah, that was my thinking exactly.

I agree – discuss and document the policy, behavioral issue, and future consequences; have the employee sign a copy; remind all other employees without sounding as if you’re picking on the offender; praise folks publicly when they follow the policy and procedures.

I would do a write up just so you have some documentation of the incident. I’m sure it was just a simple oversight, but that is all it takes to put you out of business, and possibly injur an innocent bystander. I would treat this as a severe safety threat, and discipline accordingly. No three strikes with this, one warning - and the next time you’re out of here - and let him know the severity of the issue.

I’m on the fence about a write up, but I betcha he’ll double and triple check from now on

Do you have any employees? An employee manual? Have you discussed safety issues and repeat risky behavior of employees with your insurance agent? If you answered yes to any of these, you wouldn’t be on the fence as a business owner.

Taser him bro!..Ok don’t do that. I think you’re on the right track. I’m sure he’ll not let that happen again. If it does, then you go ahead and taser him.

Ummm… I’ve been in business 6 months have one part time employee that never touches a ladder except to spot for me every once in a while. I’m sure things will be different when I expand though

It’s happened to me before. Luckily there was no damage caused but it is a scary thing to have a ladder fall off the truck. Since the day that happened we have a new procedure in place as a safe guard. When ever we take the straps off the ladders they go on the front seat of the truck. This way we will never forget to strap them again…unless we drive away sitting on ladder straps.

Maybe think corrective action rather than discipline on this one. I’m sure the guy wont soon forget this incident.

Im guilty of this myself just last week. normally Im anal when it comes to double checking before we leave. i have the system one ladder racks with the straps on the spool…well…forgot in a rush. But I was lucky. when I got back home, my buddy said to me “Jesus was your co-pilot today” and pointed to the ladder just sitting there on the rack. I dont know how or why…but it didnt come off. All I know is how lucky I was and it wont happen again.

Wayne, it happened to me too! When I was roofing, I had a 24 footer bungeed to a headache rack in my truck at the time, and on the freeway the bungee broke and I seen in the rearview mirror in horror my ladder fly out, seperate and flipped several times and hit a car just above the windshield!!! No more bungees for me. That could have been ALOT worse then it was.

That happened to an off-duty fireman in Slidell. He was working his side job and forgot to tie down the ladder.
It came off on the interstate and killed someone. He was convicted of manslaughter.

Check your ladders.
Then check them again.

I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to be responsible for someone’s death due to my carelessness but I can imagine what it would be like to spend ten years in the pen because I didn’t check my ladders.

It happened to me once as well, and I am the boss. Fortunately, I heard the ladder vibrate on the roof before it went anywhere and realized what I had done. I slowed gradually and stopped to secure it. Now, I do just like wayne805 and leave a bungee on the drivers seat.
I would let the employee know that it could have been very serious, as I am sure they could figure that out for peoples safety, but also that it could cost the company to be shut down and every one could lose their livelihood.
I would then insist on a habit of a bungee on the drivers seat or some other habit that would be effective to prevent such an event in the future.

We’ve always just checked our ladders before we leave. I can’t believe this isn’t standard protocol?!?!?!? Sort of like putting on my seatbelt, I make sure my ladders are buckled in too!

Bungees break too often. Use another method, such as a strap. I leave my straps on the driver’s seat when a ladder is in use.

They do break, it may be overkill but I use four at a time per ladder,Two near the driver and two nar the rear of the van. I figure it’s not likely to have all go at once.
At least I hope not!

I’ve lost my ladder before and not lost it many times when not locking it. The one time it slid off was at 5:00 whipping into a left turn on US 6. Thankfully it landed in the middle of the road and missed all the vehicles around. Super embarrassing, but better than the other possibility.
I strongly encourage anyone who uses bungees to not use them anymore. I used to use 9 at a time and didn’t feel safe. An acquaintance suggested I use ratcheting straps, which I did for a few years. Even that was a pain because they loosen bit by bit and need to be released and tightened with any use of the ladder. Now I use locking arms to keep them from moving too much on the rack.

I am amazed at how many close calls everyone has had.

I also recommend ratchets, and would suggest that starting tomorrow, a zero tolerance policy be in place.

[I]1 violation = immediate termination.
Imagine how sick you would feel if someone died because this happened again.

Obsess over making sure it never happens again. Make sure they are paranoid about ladder safety.

I remember you telling me about that day, before I worked for you. That is embarrassing, esp. when you have to pick up the ladder and everyone is passing by you and looking very mad! I remember when I worked with my dad doing masonry and he would just load the small ford ranger truck with very dangerous things that could fall off like scaffolding, cement box, 24 ft ladder, planks and cement bags with the tailgate down! I would look at him with this bewildered expression and say something like shouldn’t we tie this down better! He would just say something like it will ride son and that would annoy the heck out of me. All he would use was those black bungee straps and would say it’s dead weight, it’s not going anywhere. All I could think of was yeah it’s dead weight too when it crashes thru someones windshield and kills someone!!! I was so paranoid that I would sometimes just look back at all the weight and clutter on the bed of the truck all the way to the stinkin jobsite:( My head would turn so much looking back that my dad jokingly called me the exorcist!

Since then I have always used ratchet straps and bungees. I absolutely hate bungees esp. the ones that are just a bunch of rubberbands that snap so easily. I always buy the easy to use( lol ) ratchet straps that are rated strong. I never drive off until there is no movement and I can give the ladders a good strong tug and they stay in place. I am paranoid with good reason:)

I still could never understand how my dad never took the time to make sure everything was on safely. I can’t tell how embarrassing it was picking up planks and cement bags off the road. No thanks … strap that down good!