If you work in the construction industry or a related field — roofing, house painting, etc. — then you likely have to spend a fair amount of your time working on ladders. With every rung you ascend, the risks of a severe injury increase. Ladders falls can lead to catastrophic head, neck and spine injuries, along with more “minor” injuries like broken bones. Do not underestimate the risks, even on a short ladder.
So how can you stay safe?
You know you can’t avoid ladder work, and the dangers are clear. So how can you stay safe while doing this work for the rest of your career? Here are a few crucial tips to keep in mind:
- Inspect the ladder before use. Make sure it is not damaged or excessively worn, and that it has all of the necessary parts. If you have any reservations about a ladder, do not use it.
- Move cautiously and slowly. Always keep three points of contact with the ladder. Never rush to get a job done when working at heights, even if the deadline is approaching. It’s not worth the risk.
- Set the ladder up at the proper angle. If you put the base too far from the building, the ladder can slide backward from the bottom. If you put it too close, you can lose your balance and tip back from the top.
- Don’t try to do too much. In other words, don’t carry heavy loads up a ladder, don’t lean to reach something that isn’t close at hand and don’t use complex tools that mean you have to let go of the ladder entirely.
- Remember to inspect the ground as you set up the ladder. The ladder itself can be in great condition, but it can still shift or fall if it’s not on a solid, even surface.
If you use these tips, you’ll have a safety-first mindset, and that’s most important of all.
What if an accident still happens?
Falls happen in construction, even to careful workers. If you suffer serious injuries, then you need to know how to utilize appropriate workers’ comp benefits.