How I survived a 15' fall - Paint Talk - Professional Painting Contractors Forum
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:50 PM   #1
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Default How I survived a 15' fall

Just felt this should be a new thread as it's just for reading: not asking for replies necessary.. unless you have a similar story or whatever. Just want to share this.

I fell last year off a ladder that was perpendicular to a stairway: hard wood stairs must have been a bit smaller run than normal and maybe waxed as it was a high-end house. Anyway, I tested my block (a PiViT) that I've used a hundred times. I went up a rung or two and tested with a shake...Fine. I went to the top and the block slipped out and there was no place to go but down.

As the ladder slipped along the drywall, with my foam pads somewhat slowing it, there was no time to think. But I do remember thinking, yes, it's happening.

Here is what I wanted to share with all you folks to hopefully help you if it happens to you.

For all my years doing this, I would sometimes run a mental drill: what would I do if... What if it went sideways right now? Back? What if the feet slipped back? There are only 4 directions it can go. I would do a mental drill and plan to jump on that spot or do this. I always planned on the spot I would jump for so I would not fall clinging to the ladder.

There is not time to decide: you have to drill mentally. That is my one heart's message to you.

Well, the day it happened, when I was about 6 feet from the MARBLE foyer floor, I picked my spot and landed on my feet. The ladder landed on my leg and I limped for about a week, but I did not die. I took the next day off and came back to finish the F**^(ER and that was my last job ever.

So please rehearse your fall that will hopefully never come. Pick your spot and jump and maybe roll to safety. Check that block carefully!
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Old 03-25-2018, 11:09 PM   #2
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Good ideas. Also make sure things are clear under you. Landing on floor is bad enough, landing on tools, cans of paint, other ladders...
"If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little."
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Old 03-29-2018, 03:01 PM   #3
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I personally dont have a recorded fall on my books but have seen a broken back and couple twisted ankles working for other contractors. People get ahead of themselves and ladder safety gets put to the back burner. I also purchased one of the pivot blocks but actually do not use it on stairs as it hasnt worked on any of the houses I have worked on, works like a dream on roof lines though.

I'm usually calling another painting contractor to help me with spotting sketchy areas above ground. Its worth it to pay $100 to my buddy to spot me get those tough areas, its works vise versa for him as well.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:59 AM   #4
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I just did a trim piece near the roof-line about 28' up yesterday. It was the first exterior of the year. I was terrified because I had to look up and reach for it. The ladder was probably too short for the job and I don't own a 32' footer. A pair of Standoffs
with a 32 footer would have been the correct ladder to use. That's the last time I do a job like that. No more frickin' high exteriors unless I have a lift.

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Old 09-19-2020, 04:56 PM   #5
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I was painting a small student centre at the University of Waterloo. An electrician needed to reach up and over this fancy wood suspended ceiling. No way to do it easily. He came to the other side of the site to me and asked if I could hold the ladder for him so it didn't kick out at the bottom.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't do the job if it isn't safe. It's never worth the money to risk your life.
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:17 AM   #6
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Safety before everything. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. For construction site safety, I think everyone must follow the construction site safety guide at Connect BuildNext.
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