If you work in the construction industry, you undoubtedly spend some time on ladders. After all, you perform job duties that require you to reach above your head. While ladders are an invaluable tool, they are also a leading cause of injuries. In fact, there may be as many as 2,000 ladder-related injuries every single day.
While you likely cannot avoid ladders completely, you can take steps to stay safe. Understanding why ladder injuries usually occur is key. Here are three primary causes of workplace ladder accidents.
1. Choosing the wrong ladder
Ladders come in a variety of heights, styles and materials. Before starting your project, you must be certain you are working with the right ladder for the job. Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with the ladder’s height, weight and usage restrictions. Remember, you should never use a ladder for any purpose other than its intended one.
2. Placing the ladder incorrectly
For any ladder to support your weight, you must place it on solid footing. If you set up a ladder on an uneven or shifting surface, it may collapse. You must not only worry about the base of the ladder, though. Before placing one, also check for overhead obstacles, such as electrical wires. Then, be sure you cannot drop equipment from the ladder onto anyone’s head.
3. Using a broken ladder
Like all your construction tools, ladders wear out over time. Before climbing onto a ladder, you should inspect it for visible signs of damage. If yours is missing rungs, feet, ropes or anything else, you should not use it. You should, however, place a sign on the ladder to alert others to the damage.
If you sustain a job-related injury when working on a broken ladder or using a ladder incorrectly, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Still, by striving to manage the common reasons for ladder accidents, you decrease your chances of suffering a serious injury at work.