Ladder Safety How-To

By: Alison Fong

Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s (Only use a ladder or stepladder)

· After you have inspected it

· In a safe environment free of clutter

· At a firm level base

· If you can lean at approximately 75 degrees from horizontal

· Where you can maintain 3 points of contact (hands or feet)

· Stay near the middle of the ladder

Don’ts (On a ladder or stepladder)

· Extend ladders while standing on rungs

· Overload it or carry loads on ladders

· Overreach

· Allow more than one person at one time

· Stand ladders on moveable objects or uneven ground

· Use the top two steps on either an extension ladder or a stepladder


Inspect ladders prior to each use and on a regular basis including, but not limited to the following:

  • End caps and feet are in place and in good condition with slip-resistant material.
  • Step connections are in good condition without bends or breaks.
  • Rungs are tight and in good condition- no bent or missing rungs.
  • Warning labels are present and legible.
  • Hardware is tight and secure.
  • Surfaces are free of grease, oil, rust, or corrosion.
  • Side rails are straight and free of cracks, bends, splits, or corrosion.

7 Steps to Extension Ladder Safety

  • Extend ladder 3’ above the surface
  • Tie off ladder at top
  • 3-point contact at all times
  • Don’t use if ladder has broken rungs
  • For every 4’ in height, put ladder 1’ back
  • Secure ladder at bottom
  • Never carry tools or materials on ladder
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Know What to Do in an Emergency

thanks to student intern Mattie Robinson for authoring this month’s post.

Spring 2019

Now that school is back in session, be sure to review our emergency procedures to ensure your safety on campus. Be prepared for any emergencies, by keeping yourself up to date with what’s going on. During an emergency, look for information updates through texts,, Twitter (@SMU), and Facebook for notifications regarding emergency updates.

Ensure you will receive SMU emergency notifications: Update your cell phone # in My.SMU and be sure to select mobile as your preferred number.

Before an emergency occurs make sure you:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and notice signs of danger in your area; you may have more time to react if you notice danger early.
  • Know when there is a threat for sever weather; find a trusted source for your weather information, whether a smartphone app, social media, a website, television or radio.
  • If you are in a building, always notice the nearest stairways and exits.
  • If you are outside, always notice where you may conceal yourself or cover yourself from the danger of a shooter.


In the event of a campus emergency, it is vital that SMU students, faculty and staff know what to do. Common sense, opportunity, and personal experience all play a part in responding to emergencies. But whether the threat is fire, a weather emergency or an active shooter, preparation for the following three critical responses will be applicable in most emergency situations.


Run, Hide, or Fight


You will receive this notice if there is an intruder with a weapon or the threat of another type of violence on campus.

ACTIONS (Depending on your personal situation and location)

  • RUN – go to a safer location, if that is an option
  • HIDE– get out of sight, remain quiet; lock doors when possible
  • FIGHT – confronted with the violence, collaborate with others to distract the intruder and get away or defend yourselves
  • Warn others and call 214-768-3333 if you have information for Police
  • Wait for campus officials to notify you when to return to normal activities


Find a safe place in the building


Outdoor warning sirens sound to signal there is a severe weather or environmental danger outside


  • Go Inside a building, to bathrooms or interior halls, away from glass doors or windows
  • Monitor one or more media sources
  • Wait for campus officials to notify you when to return to normal activities


Leave your building immediately


Indoor alarms sound or strobe lights flash to signal there is a danger inside or near the building, such as fire


  • Go Outside the building; assist those who are disabled
  • Take valuables and cell phone with you
  • Proceed to the assembly area outside
  • Wait for campus officials to notify you when to return to normal activities.



You see someone or something that looks suspicious or out of place, call SMU Police at 214-768-3333 or dial 911.

Suspicious activities include:

  • A person loitering in parking lots, garages or building hallways
  • Someone you don’t recognize attempting to enter restricted areas of a building
  • Someone you don’t recognize following you or others into a residence hall
  • Someone you don’t recognize taking pictures of or sketching structures
  • Unattended, abandoned or unusual-looking vehicles parked for prolong periods of time in the same location
  • Someone asking questions about security procedures


Suspicious packages include:

  • An unattended backpack, briefcase or luggage left in public or high-traffic areas
  • A package, envelope or device that looks suspicious, seems out of place or cannot be readily identified

For more information, call the SMU Police Department at 214-768-3388.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact the Director of Emergency Management, Leigh Ann Moffett at (214-768-4090) or the Safety and Risk Specialist, Max Richardson at (214-768-1550).

 Did you know?

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

Every year, at least 430 people die in the United States from accidental CO poisoning. CO poisoning can occur by being exposed to heaters, furnaces, vehicles, stoves, lanterns, portable generators, and burning wood.  If you or anyone else is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning (dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion) please call 911 immediately. For more information regarding CO poisoning refer to the link below:

Slips, Trips, and Falls:

Slips Trips and Falls made up 60% of work-related injuries on SMU campus. 15% of all accidental deaths are caused by slips/trips/falls according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  While on SMU property ensure your safety by always watching where you are going.  In the event of bad weather, avoid areas that appear to have ice.  If you notice any slick or icy spots on campus, contact SMU Facilities at 214-768-7000.


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Cold Weather Safety

Texas weather can be unpredictable.  One day could be 90°F and sunny and the next day will be 30°and icy.  As the temperature drop, there are some cold weather safety tips you should consider before heading outdoors.

  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Be prepared for any weather-related emergencies.  Check the SMU website, Twitter, and Facebook for notifications regarding inclement weather update.
  • Avoid walking on ice or sleet. If you notice any slick or icy spots on campus, contact SMU Facilities at 214-768-7000.
  • Do not pour HOT water on your windshield to remove ice or snow. Hot water may cause your windshield to crack and/or shatter.
  • Dress in layers of loss-fitting, lightweight, and warm clothing. Three layers of clothing are recommend.
    • Inner layer: Fabrics such as wool, silk or polypropylene are better at maintaining body heat than cotton.
    • Insulation layer: This layer will help with maintaining body heat.  Wool or fleece materials work best as insulation.
    • Outer layer: Water and wind resistant clothing are prefer to protect you from wind, rain, and snow.
  • Wear a hat, scarf, and mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Stay dry by wearing water-resistant coat and boots. Wet clothing can drop your body temperature quickly.
  • Avoid long-term exposure to the cold temperature. Watch for signs and symptoms of hypothermia.
  • If you must work outdoor, dress warmly and work slowly. Be sure to remove extra layers of clothing when you are sweating.  Sweating can lower the body temperature.

What is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when the body is exposed to cold temperature for long periods of time.  The body’s inability to produce body heat to compensate for this long-term exposure can cause dangerously low body temperature to the sufferer.  Hypothermia typically effects the elderly, children or individuals who have prolonged exposure to the cold environment.

Signs and symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of motor function
  • Shivering
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Cardiac arrest

What to do in cases of hypothermia emergency:

  • Get medical attention immediately. Contact SMU PD at 214-768-3333 or call 911.
  • Slowly and carefully get the individual inside a warm environment.
  • Gently remove wet clothing.
  • Warm the person gradually and slowly. Rapid warming may cause hypovolemic shock from a sudden drop in blood pressure.

If you have any other questions and/or concerns, please contact us at or 214-768-2083.


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Welcome Jonathan Dowd!

The Office of Risk Management is excited to welcome our newest member, Jonathan Dowd, who is the University’s new Risk Analyst Manager.  His first day was on Friday, November 30th and he is excited about his new role at SMU.  Jonathan has previously worked at the University of North Texas in the Risk Management Department.

Please stop by the Office of Risk Management to help us welcome Jonathan to SMU!

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Winter Safety

Do you plan on putting up holiday decorations this year?  Traveling for the holidays?

In order to keep everyone on campus safe, the Office of Risk Management suggests the following best practices for the Holiday Season:

  • Only use a safe ladder on a flat surface when hanging decorations. Don’t use chairs and tables in place of a ladder.
  • Keep cords and other items out of walking paths.
  • Keep floors clean and dry. Clean up spills quickly.
  • Always keep three points of contact when going up and down stairs. Don’t try to carry too many things.
  • Never hang decorations from lights, sprinklers, or smoke alarms.

Wintertime also means cold weather! We also ask to take extra care, in the event of bad weather.

  • Try to minimize trips that expose you to the elements.
  • Pay extra attention to the health yourself and others. Know the signs and symptoms of cold stress.
  • Drink warm liquids through the day.
  • Wear extra layers of clothing or keep them available.
  • Keep a blanket in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or 214-768-2083.


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Welcome Max Richardson!

The Office of Risk Management is excited to welcome our newest member, Max Richardson, our Safety and Risk Specialist.  He will be responsible for our fire safety programs, including fire safety inspections, fire drills, and much more.  You might have seen Max around before as his previous role as the Emergency Management Specialist at the Office of Risk Management.  He’s a great addition to the team.

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SCUV (Golf Cart) Training

Do you drive a golf cart and/or club cars on campus?  If you do, have you taken the Sub-Compact Utility Vehicle Safety (SCUV) training within the last three years?  If not, you are require to take the SCUV training as soon as possible.  The training must be completed every 3 years and is available both online and in-person.  The in-person training is offered on a monthly basis.  You can access the training schedule and sign up for the training here.

If you have any questions and/or would like to check on your training status, please feel free to contact us or 214-768-2083.

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Flood Safety

According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, September 2018 is the wettest September on record.  At this time, October 2018 is the second wettest October on record and the rain is still coming.  Due to the record amount of rain, it is important that we keep a couple of things in mind for flood safety.  Stay inform about current weather and road conditions via radio and television.  Currently, Dallas is under a flood warning.  What does that mean?  What is the difference between flood watch vs flood warning?  Flood watch means that flooding maybe possible while flood warning means that flood may have occurred in some areas.  Stay away from flooded area do not walk or swim in flood waters because you never know what could be lurking under the water.  Do not drive into water of unknown depths or around barricades.  All it takes is 6 inches of moving water to knock you down and one foot of moving water to sweep your car away.  Make sure you move to higher ground and stay away from storm drains, ditches, and stream.  If you do become trapped in flooded areas, get out quickly, move to higher ground and contact emergency services immediately.  If you notice any leaks or standing water in a building on campus, please notify SMU Facilities at 8-7000 as soon as possible.


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West Nile Virus Safety

Even though we are close to the end of summer, it does not mean we are completely safe from the West Nile Virus.  West Nile Virus most commonly occurs in warmer climates (i.e. Texas) where the mosquitoes are more active.  In 2018, there are 8 human cases of West Nile Virus reported in Dallas County.  The main source of West Nile Virus transmission is through infected mosquito bites.  Casual contact with an infected person will not lead to infection such as coughing, sneezing, and/or touching.  Signs and symptoms may include fever, headache, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and skin rash.  They typically do not appear until 2 to 14 days after the mosquito bites.  However, some individuals may not display any symptoms at all.  You can help prevent the spread of the virus by removing any standing water, changing pet bowls regularly, applying mosquito repellent when you’re outside, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.  Currently, there are no specific vaccine and treatments available for this disease.  However, over-the-counter medications may be use to relieve some of the symptoms such as fever and body aches.  For few individuals, hospitalization may be require for supportive care.  If you developed serious symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, paralysis, seek medical care immediately.  Please refer to the resources below for any additional questions.


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Safety Training now included in your SMU Training Record

Welcome back!  As we begin this upcoming academic year, we have some exciting news for you!  Employees can now access your full training record on SMU Learning and Development (  Safety training taken though Office of Risk Management will now be included in your record.  The training record will automatically update as you complete additional training.  This allow staff and employees to check for any missing required training in Bloodborne Pathogens, SCUV, and machine Shop.  As a reminder, some safety training are require annually (i.e. Bloodborne Pathogen) and some are require every three years (i.e. SCUV).  If you have any questions about safety training, please feel free to contact us at or call us at 214-768-2083.

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