, Resources for Adjusters from Adjusters
LADDER/CLIMBING SAFETY - Too Many Fal... Careers | Training | Adjusters
Vendors | Marketplace

The Adjuster's Forum » Tips and How To » LADDER/CLIMBING SAFETY - Too Many Falls Last Year! « Previous Next »

Author Message
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2001 - 5:36 pm:   

It should go without saying that your head has got to be in what you are doing, when it comes to climbing roofs. If you are in doubt, do not do it. I have been climbing for 40 years this Jan. 7 and consider it the most dangerous of all assignments. I do not think of anything except proper set up, proper climb up and certainly proper procedure on getting down from the roof. Getting off or down from the roof slopes is by far the most dangerous. It can be the descent of death if you are not careful. Remember, you are not skydiving with a chute, you are climbing a roof and that sudden stop, if you fall, is hard on the body.

Make sure the ladder is not near anything electrical and that the foot of the ladder is stabile and solid. The ladder top should extend at least 18 to 24 inches above the ladder contact point of the roof. Always respect your ladder and keep it in clean and good condition.

In forty years I have fallen once and that was on a roof that I questioned. I should not have gotten on a moss covered, wet wood shingled roof. I received minor bruises when I fell into a big bush. I was very lucky. It taught me, real quick, to not climb if in doubt. Always watch where you are putting your feet. There could be something slick on the roof. Never step on leaves, pine needles or debris. If the shingles are old, the granulation is loose and could become marbles under you feet. Hot roofs (composition) have granules that are loose, due to the heat. Always try to find gum rubber soles for your climbing shoes or check into cougar paws.

I regret that Linda and others have fallen and am in hopes that all may return to a normal life and continue with their adjusting losses.
JimLakes (Jimlakes)
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2001 - 2:20 pm:   


Thanks, but no thanks was needed. We are all in this game together. I just hope and pray that Linda recovers to her normal life.

I said what I meant, and I mean what I say.

Jim Lakes RPA
Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 1:05 am:   

I would like to express a "thank you" to Jim and Darryl, so far the only two vendors to say a word of condolences. I look for others as they become aware. I further think that just to take the time to post a concern, information or anything else concerning a fallen brother should enlighten all of us to the types of people these guys are and "more" than likely "care" for "us" Cat adjusters while on the road working for them or someone else.
Thanks guys, it makes a lot of feel that someone out there cares.
Darryl Martin (Darryl)
Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 3:17 pm:   

I hate to see this topic come up again because it means somebody got hurt. Here is some information we use along with our ladder self study guide.

Ladder Tips

Before you use any ladder inspect it. Look for the following defects:
1. Loose or missing rungs or cleats
2. Loose nails, bolts or screws
3. Cracked, broken, split, dented or badly worn rungs, cleats or side rails
4. Wood splinters.
5. Corrosion of metal ladders or metal parts.

If you find a ladder in poor condition, DON'T USE IT. It should be removed from service immediately, repaired or replaced.

Using Ladders

Choose the right type and size ladder.

1. Be sure straight ladders are long enough so that the side rails extend above the top support by at least 36"
2. Don't set up ladders in areas such as doorways or walkways where others may run into them, unless they are protected by barriers. Keep the area around the top and base of the ladder clear. Don't run hoses, extension cords or ropes on a ladder and create an obstruction.
3. Don't try and increase the height of a ladder by standing it on boxes, barrels or other materials. Don't try and splice two ladders together.
4. Set the ladder on solid footing against a solid support. Don't try and use a stepladder as a straight ladder.
5. Place the base of straight ladders out away from the wall or edge of the upper level, about one foot for every four feet of vertical height. Don't use ladders as a platform, runway or scaffold.
6. Tie in, block or otherwise secure the top of straight ladders to prevent them from being displaced.
7. To avoid slipping on a ladder, check your shoes for oil, grease or mud and wipe it off before climbing.
8. Always face the ladder and hold on with both hands when climbing up or down. Don't try to carry tools or materials in your hands.
9. Don't lean out to the side when you're on a ladder. If something is out of reach, get down and move the ladder.
10. Most ladders are designed to hold only one person at a time. Two may cause the ladder to fail or throw it off balance.

Take good care of good ladders and they'll take good care of you. Store them in well ventilated areas, away from dampness.

The above tips come from a "Tool Box Talks" pamphlet. I hope they help. As before a copy of our ladder self study program is available for anyone that wants it. e-mail me and I'll forward it.
JimLakes (Jimlakes)
Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 9:07 am:   

We at RAC Adjustments,wish Linda the best of our prayers and thoughts for a speedy recovery. We hope that she will recover to her normal health.

We do not know Linda, however we have all adjusters in our thoughts as we travel across this great land and preform our risky jobs. Please be careful out there, all the claims in the world are not worth one adjusters life.

Best Wishes and May God Bless You, Linda.

Jim Lakes RPA
NationalCatastrophe Center
RAC Adjustments, Inc.
Don Politte (Donp)
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 11:16 pm:   

The person who fell was Linda Hardy, she fell from a roof in St. Louis and, she has the following fractures, skull, neck, femur, shatered knee and several to the face. Her spirits are high and is hoping to get to go home to Texas this weekend.
I spoke to her daughter this morning and she says that the neck fracture will be placed in a neck brace and she should be ok in a while. The knee is the worst of the injuries and will take the longest to heal. Linda has already started therapy and is doing pretty good, considering.
Take care, when on the roof and especially while getting onto the ladder to get down, from what I understand this is when she fell. This is also when I fell earlier this year, also in St. Louis, however my injury was slight compared to Linda's, only a broken leg. So be carefull out there and don't get in a hurry, you'll only get yourself hurt.
Roy Cupps (Roy)
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 2:49 pm:   

I was informed yesterday of an adjuster on assignment that fell from a roof. She received injuries from the fall but is doing better today.

I was wondering as a community are we doing as much as possible to reduce the injuries in our industry. If not are there any thoughts on what we may do via CADO to reduce the injuries.
Jim Blanchard (Jimb)
Posted on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 4:52 am:   

I have been in roofing for over 30 years. In every aspect of the job, preparation is everything and good preparation is usually a pain in the butt. Its all the little things you have to do before you do the job that get at you. That includes setting ladders and staging. Setting a ladder on a sloped roof without a cleat is just plain foolish no mater how many people are on the job. 20 minutes of preparation vs. months of rehabilitation (if you are fortunate)is little enough investment of time for someone who depends on his or her mobility to make a living.

All you really need is a good stick of wood aboout 30" long x 1" thick, some 2 1/2 - 3" deck screws, some 5" x 7" aluminum step flashing, a tube of asphalt cement and a caulking gun, a flat bar and a battery operated drill with a phillips head bit. All stuff that will fit and store well in the trunk of your car.

Set your ladder on the slope. Place the cleat (stick of wood)at the foot of the ladder and secure it through the shingles and wood deck with 3 screws spaced across the length. When the job is done take down the ladder;remove the cleat; use the flat bar to break the seals on the shingle tabs with the screw holes in them; lift the tabs and gun some asphalt cement over the holes; place a piece of step flashing over the cement so that it doesn't show from under the shingle tab; gun more asphalt sement on top of the step flashing and press the shingle tab down into the cement. The repair reliable and virtually invisible and you should survive to fight another day.

You can also look a website I just discovered: There are some interesting ladder accessories there. I have never tried any of them so I'm not endorsing them, but they are interesting none the less. Also if you are climbing just to measure a slope take a look at my website

Work smart! Work Safe!
Darryl Martin
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 2:05 pm:   

I was sorry to hear about Bill Hill's fall. Just a reminder that I still have a ladder safety self study course available for those interested. It is by no means a discertation on the subject but it is a good refresher and if you're not careful you might even learn something new.

E-mail me at and I'll send it to you in a reply.

Think safety.
Bill Hill
Posted on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 1:36 pm:   

Unfortunately and stupidly I got interested in ladder safety AFTER I fell. I was lucky and only fractured my heel and severly sprained my ankle.

The situation was this. I was in Twin Cities area on hail claims. By myself thus no one to hold ladder or assist.

Most of the houses involved were subdivision split level. You know the ones that you can reach the garage roof but not the upper level. So you can climb and drag the ladder up with you to gain access to the upper level.

Getting up there is ok but coming down the base of the ladder slipped and me and the ladder were on the ground in what seemed like a second.

People this is POOR technique. Don't do it. Get help or a bigger ladder or preferably both.

I was lucky.
Vince Tabor
Posted on Saturday, April 28, 2001 - 7:24 pm:   

Many roofs, like the one I was on today have an overhang some nailed to the fascia of a shed or
on a porch. Broke one off today on an inspection
and landed on the roof below. I was lucky just
a few scrapes. My best friend Glen died last year
and I was being watch what you are stepping on and keep focused... and take nothing for granted on the roof. You are doing a dangerous job...on every roof inspection.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 7:10 pm:   

Thanks Chuck, I was contacted via e-mail by Jack Wolfe. I then called Leica and was told I could purchase the Disto Classic for a few pennies under $400.00. Apparently there was a communication break down between Jack and Leica headquarters. As you see, there is one strict advantage to the internet and appropriate communication. I ordered the Disto Classic, as Jack thoroughly impressed me with his presentation of the Classic. I look forward to receiving it within a few days. I have some commercial losses to look at and hope I get the Disto before I go on them. If a video is available from anyone, it would be greatly appreciated. I would pay for the expense for it if Russell Doe thinks it will help.
I strongly suggest, if you can afford it, that all of you get the Disto Classic. Chuck got a Disto Pro and loves it. Thanks for your help Chuck. Now I know for a fact that you are good for something, HO HO. Thanks to all of you for attending the digital camera break outs. I enjoyed the class and wish all of you happy photographing. I will be posting at least once a week about digital photos. If you did not get the photoadjuster photo processing system, I strongly urge you to do so. Janice took some photos in Jackson, Ms and thought they were good. She loaded them on the laptop into Photoadjuster before she left the insured's dwelling and found they had not taken properly, (bad disc). She took more before leaving, thus saving her around 150 miles of additional drive time.

I enjoyed meeting all of you. You were all great. I am sure Roy is very pleased with the turnout and the results of the First (Annual??) CADO Convention. If most of you have not met Mr. Cupps, you will find a very knowledgeable and extremely humble man. Thanks for all your efforts Roy Cupps. You have started something great in CADO.
Cecil Kraft (Cecil)
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 4:45 pm:   

I bought the plain ol Disto Basic back in January and can attest that it is worth every penny. I have used it on many claims since then and your measuring accuracy improves dramatically and arguments about your measurements cease.
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 2:40 pm:   

People, you need to take advantage of this offer. 6 months ago I payed $599.00 plus tax =$640.93. That was for the Disto Classic and a carrying case. They aren't going to get any cheaper!!! Even at that price the Disto has saved me enough time to pay for in a short time. Also a bonus, I have the video taped presentation of the Disto Classic that Jack Wolfe graciously left in the VCR. I'm sure we can find a way to get one to each person buying a unit. Have a great day and PLEASE WORK SAFE!!! Russ
Chuck Deaton (Chuck)
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 9:11 am:   

Unasked I contacted Jack Wolf on Tom's behalf. This is the return message I received.


Thanks very much for your message.

I have sent a message to Tom confirming that we will honor the offer of a DISTO
classic for the special price of $395.00 to any CAT adjuster during the month of

Just phone 800-367-9453 and speak with Lisa Corbitt on extension 364

I would like to post this message on the CADO forum but cannot seem to geth this
done. Could you do this for me?

Thanks again.

Jack Wolf
Leica Geosystems Inc
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 7:17 pm:   

I too tried and met the same fate. Guess I will wait for the inevitable price reduction when the "knock offs" hit the market.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 5:49 pm:   

Well, I hope some of you were able to get the Classic Lica Disto. I called, as the representative at the convention said to do, and asked for the Basic Disto. He and several others said they were out of them, so I would get a classic for the same $400.00 price. NOT SO. I called twice and they said I could have the Classic for the regular price and regreted they were out of the basic. If you cannot believe their representative, Mr. Wolfe, at the convention, then how do they expect us to believe in their product and warranty. I will not under these circumstances acquire a Disto Classic. I will continue to do what I have been doing for 40 years, manual measuring. It is accurate too.
Chuck Deaton (Chuck)
Posted on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 3:34 pm:   

Try you are looking for the Petzl Tibloc Acsender.

So much genius in such a small device!
Cecil Kraft (Cecil)
Posted on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 7:44 am:   

First it's Leica, now it's Petzel.
I looked up Petzel and all I got was an art gallery. When you throw out one of those high falutin foreign words, you have to include the web site so we can go check it out.
Chuck Deaton (Chuck)
Posted on Sunday, April 08, 2001 - 12:15 am:   

I use the Petzel ascender. It is cheap and reliable. A one peice device that uses a carbiner.
Lyndon Graves (Lyndon)
Posted on Saturday, April 07, 2001 - 11:48 pm:   

Once again!!! Ditto!
Greg Scott (Gregs14)
Posted on Friday, January 19, 2001 - 12:03 pm:   

Anybody try "Gator Grips"? Made by a fellow adjuster with Littleton Claims branch in Fort Worth. Two easy to carry brackets that hold the ladder legs against the edge of the roof sort of like tying your ladder off. Easy and quick to use. Don't know where to get them except by calling Littleton in Fort Worth. Wish I had them fifteen years ago when my baseless Stapleton blew over when I put it against a house that was guttered all the way around. I was looking at a roof for the old Employers Casualty Co. and this house was in a rural area and 1/4 mile from the nearest home. PH was not at home-only roof damage to look at. The area where the ladder fell was 12 feet and solid concrete below and the yard sloped away everywhere else, no trees to climb and was recovering from a skiing accident and broken leg from 18 months earlier. Figured if I dangled off the gutter, I'd break it and maybe even my leg again. Solution? God gave me a brain but it's somtimes a little slow so I sat and thought for about twenty minutes. Being a Texan, it finally occurred to me. Tie a loop in the end of that tape measure and snag one leg of that ladder. Luckily the old stapletons had that tapered end that kept the pointed part just above the pavement when lying flat. Roped her and pulled her up and got the h--- outta Dodge, er uh far north Colleyville. Greg
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 12:38 pm:   

A company named Petzl produces an excellent line of climbing safety equipment. It was originally developed for descending and ascending in cave exploration, but has been adapted to construction and rescue work.
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Sunday, December 17, 2000 - 12:01 pm:   

Steve Cantrell (Flash)
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2000 - 5:25 pm:   

If you think it cant happen to you, you are wrong. Already on this cat (Midland, Tx.) one person has fallen and died as a result and another has fallen and broken their arm. Both of these happened to be roofers, but it could have been adjusters just as easily.
Exercise care.
Darryl Martin
Posted on Monday, November 06, 2000 - 9:35 am:   

I was gratified to see the response for our ladder safety lesson plan. I hope it helps. One of the biggest problems is complacency when climbing and on the roof. I hope we are all more careful.
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Friday, November 03, 2000 - 9:48 am:   

Received, Reviewed, and whole hearted endorse the
publication that you have so graciously shared.

It will behove many to request, READ , and learn
how to use a ladder properly.

Thank you for your efforts Darryl.
Darryl Martin
Posted on Thursday, November 02, 2000 - 2:06 pm:   

I have put together a short lesson plan and test for ladder safety. It is for our company's use but I will make it available for anyone that wants it. Just e-mail me and I'll send it back by e-mail.

Resist complacency!
Tomj (Tomj)
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2000 - 11:49 pm:   

Just to bring an important issue home, I have to relay this occurance.As many of you know my wife is also an adjuster with a large independant. Today on a 6/12 or so, a couple of shingles broke out from under her. She was lucky and only had some brush burns and her pride damaged,and pants, shirt.
Please, be careful, it only takes once
Tom (Tom)
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2000 - 9:57 pm:   

During Hurricane Alecia in 1982, I stupidly fell from a one story, wood shingle roof. I arrived early in the AM, at the request of the insured. Took a look at the roof, 7/12 with heavy concentrations of green moss, and told the insured I did not have the correct shoes to climb the roof. He really got upset, telling me he was a busy business man. He adamantly insisted I climb the roof and inspect.
I made a wrong decision. I climbed the ladder, got about 10' up the roof and my feet went out from under me. I slip down the roof like a rocket. I landed on my back in a large bush. I received a number of skin punctures, but was okay.

Guess what. The insured called the office and told them I had ruined his prize bush and that we owed him for it. Boy, what a jerk. This jerk ended up being my disciple though. Now I use common sense and will not allow anyone to convince me to do something I know is dangerous. Every roof is a potential accident. Unfortunately, some don't survive the accident.
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2000 - 8:47 pm:   

I have invented a safety device for inspecting roofs. Getting patent pending for it now. Todays stats on all inventions is that 95% of all inventions never make any money due to not doing the home work on marketing . example the airbag took like 15 years before it ended up in your car . Any ways when I get the final designs done on it I will post it here on Cado first. Glenn's tragedy motivated me to put my thinking cap on and I still pray for his wife and kids. To all! keep safe on the roofs.
Tomweems (Tomweems)
Posted on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 9:59 am:   

90% of falls happen on the first or last roof of the day. Don't climb too early when the roof is still wet, and don't try to do that "last roof" of the day when you are over tired. It will still be there tomorrow and if you don't wait, it may really be the last roof!

Easy does it...that extra few moments spent being careful on the ladder may save your life. And NEVER WALK BACKWARDS on a roof. We lost a good man that way, let Glenn be the last...
Lyndon (Lyndon)
Posted on Saturday, September 02, 2000 - 1:32 pm:   

Bottom Line: Too Many Falls Last Year!!

1.) Take time to evaluate your ascension. Look at all slopes and valleys. Two and three story structures call for the utmost of attention and care. Ladder pulls are a particularly risky effort and deserve your utmost care.

2.) Do NOT be afraid to say NO! If you are very concerned about a particular roof, GET HELP! Local roofers are always willing to assist you! IF you ask the carrier, most of the will give their blessing as opposed to having you fall!

3.) A variety of ladders is not a bad idea. It offers you choices that you would not otherwise have.

4.) Avoid the temptation of setting up your ladder on a section of pitched roof, hoping that the "feet" will dig in and hold you. In this instance, 99 out of 100 ain't good odds! That one will get ya! If you have to do this climb, get someone to hold the ladder in place, better yet, get a longer ladder and avoid the situation!

5.) Know your surfaces! Moss, metal, moisture, loose shingles or tiles, ice, tree debris, small rocks, etc. all can cause you, or your ladder, to loose footing. WATCH OUT where you put your feet and ladder!

6.) On the roof. . .watch out for vent pipes, patches, weak decking, turbines, vents, antennas and wires, on and on! Ever back up to get just the right photo? Better look real good first!

7.) COMMON THREAD in almost all accidents: HURRY! Going too fast! . . .It is a killer!

YOU GUYS THAT FELL. . .please pitch in, and share your experience with us newbies and oldies! Tell us about the fall, the injuries, and the recovery. You just might save someone's life!

Topics | Home | Current Forum | The Classifieds | Adjuster Roster | Channels | Resources | Contact Us