Today, I ascended a ladder up the side of a large condominium complex, in order to record information about a roof-mounted heat pump. As I stepped on the roof I thought that I felt the ladder flex, but I wasn’t positive. On the return trip, I stood at the edge of the roof and studied the area surrounding the base of the ladder, and tried to decide where I might land should it fail. I decided that I would push off, jump to one side, and hope to land on a wooden patio table, which I reasoned would bend or break and absorb some of the impact energy. I descended very carefully, while trying not to lean back or exert any pressure away from the building. About five rungs down I found myself staring at two popped lag screws in a fascia board that was completely termite eaten. I stopped reasoning at that point, and with my heart pounding increased the speed of my descent. Half way down, I saw two more lag screws firmly imbedded in healthy wood, and concluded that I was never in imminent danger. However, I did remind myself that if the ladder had failed I could have been killed or seriously injured, and all for the price of a two bedroom condo inspection, or $400.00. Take care of yourselves. It’s bad enough that terrorists are trying to kill us. And, remember NACHI needs you. Joy to the world.
I was once up on a ladder painting the sofit of a two story
house when a wasp came at me. I used one hand, with a
brush in it, to swat at the wasp. When I did, the ladder
tilted slightly and then flip all the way around. I held on
with a white knuckle grip.
I was now gripping the bottom side of the ladder, as I had
just flipped it around. I yelled for my friend to come and
My friend came running around the corner and fell on the
ground laughing (not kidding here). I managed to climb
down the back side of the ladder, while my friend remained
on the ground still laughing. I kept saying it was not
funny… but he kept laughing and between breaths…
said it was funny.
The moral of the story is this… who needs terrorist, when
you have friends like this…
A point well taken, and how can we not remember "a betrayal "at Christmas time. I’m worried that Christmas might bring another terrorist attack. Pray for peace.
His words are right on. I wasn’t that lucky i ended up in the hospital for 3 weeks and it took 5 years to finish putting me back together.
PS: I know I’m still not right in the head
Thanks for the reminder ,your post sure will help many to remember to be just a little more carefull.
Second statement I do not think I want to go there .
Have a great holiday ,Thanks
My ladder nightmare…
Please be very careful out there.
How are you doing now? another friend of mine down here (a roofing contractor) fell from a single story roof last year, he badly broke is left ankle resulting in pins, plates, legos and all kinds of other implements to be inserted. He is going back into hospital for his 3rd operation next month.
As David said be carefull out there
From what I have seen on various message boards and from speaking to inspectors at conferences and the like I hear of about 1 death per year in our industry and around 3-4 serious injuries.
Be safe, be well, remember gravity has never been known to fail.
Probably just my reading comprehension, but I don’t quite understand what happened… what was causing the ladder to “flex”, and how was it flexing?
Some of us do it for half that…
That’s the problem. We should all been doing it for what Keith is charging times two [x2].or x3 or x4!! Not less. Makes sense to me.
Merry Christmas guys!!!
Keith happy to see that you made it down allright.
Michael, here’s the scoop. The ladder was secured with three sets of lagscrews on either side of the rails, a pair close to the base, a pair at the midpoint, and a pair at the top. The rails extended above the roof line as hand-holds. A few rungs down I came face-to-face with the lag screws securing the top of the ladder and they had indeed popped, which I experienced as the ladder flexing at the top, simply because they were imbedded into termite damaged wood. When I got a little more than halfway down I saw the lagsrews securing the ladder at the mid point, and realized that they were indeed holding in solid wood, and therefore there was never any real danger of the ladder pulling away from the building. But, let me assure you, my heart was pounding.
Gotcha… the ladder was attached to the wall of the condo**. **That was what I was missing when I first read post, I was thinking this was free standing ladder, and perhaps the termite damaged soffit was failing.
Not a failure of your reading comprehension, but my failure as a descriptive writer. PS This was a three story building, and there’s no way I would ascend three stories on a free-standing ladder. (I’m leaving that to people with wings).
Just drink a Red Bull it gives you wings
Henry, I’ve never tried a Red Bull. I like to sip a Seven-and-Seven (or two) when I’m dining out with She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed, but I’ll give one a try soon.
I was there last year but not on a ladder attached to a building. I was climbing on a free standing ladder from one roof to another. I fell 8 feet to the lower roof when the ladder kicked out. I landed on my stomach and rolled up the roof. It was one of the scarriest days of my life. The buyer came running around the bushes, yelling! I just sat there for a minute… Thinking… I just did this inspection for free! The ladder landed on a Hot Tub. I was ok, except for my pride. I also learned a very good lesson. Do every thing safely! I only have one life and the family would not be happy if I was around but they had to take care of me! So safety is first!
Think safety always! I did a couple of building this year with steel ladders on the buildings for Fire Escape, I would not climb on them or recommend anyone to climb on them. They were bolted into the concrete and brick walls but I would not trust them. The owner told the local police was giving them a fit about the ladders being over grown with vines. I said, your reason for being mad? I personally knew the owner. He said I was as big of … as they were. ( you can fill in the blank) I told him I was paid to be and he taught me to be! We laughed together but he did take me serious. But I did tell him to have those ladders fixed. He agreed! Safety! No safety, Law Suits. Guess who would be the one who climbs down them, some guys selling drugs trying to get away from the cops.
Be Safe and have a Happy New Year!
Glad that you’re here to tell the tale, and to make NACHI proud. Thanks.
Congratulations on your successful ascent/decent.
Up and down a ladder daily for years…down is always the scary part.
I often reminded my employees (and myself in doing so) no one ever fell off of a roof, a ladder, a scaffold, etc. until they did! Corny but it made them think a moment about what I said.
Bad experience this summer myself with ladders. Those things are treacherous.
I was painting the back side of the house, which is a story and one-half, and my ladder was actually 3 feet two short from what it should be. So, I ran a rope over the house and tied it to the top of the ladder and the other end to the hitch of my truck.
I then proceeded to secure the bottom of the ladder and tied it to the corner post rail of my deck. I then took extra precaution and tie myself to the ladder should I loose my balance.
Things seemed to work just great and I felt real secure, until the mishap that was caused when my wife decided to go shopping and my truck was in the way , so she forwarded my truck to the front lawn to get it out of the way.
Well, I’ll tell you what, this was the most hectic experience in my life excluding the pain that I suffered.
When the truck pulled up, the ladder proceeded to climb the roof along with the porch rail post and me on it. Over the roof I go, ripped out the ridge vent on my way by, the ladder and the porch post hit my chimney and knock out the top course of brick and down I went to the other side of the house and landed straight for my Crab Apple tree and breaking every branch on the way down between my legs. The pain was too much.
Just when I thought that I would sustain this fall and pain, the bricks off my chimney came off the roof along with the ladder and porch post and hit me over the head.
I got up miraculously, with contusions to the head, but controlled the bleeding with my handkerchief, in the meantime my wife walks up to me and said (why and how in Gods name could you be so stupid to fall off the roof. I always knew you were pig headed and hard headed enough to not damage those bricks, now go fix the chimney and finish painting the house. )
Moral; If you do decide to tie the safety rope to the hitch of your truck, hide the keys. ha. ha. ha.
Never and I mean never is enough precaution made when using ladders, and remember, that besides having a secure ladder, remember the 3-point contact.