Falls are considered one of the top causes of construction injuries. The use of ladders, undoubtedly, plays a significant contributing role when it comes to workplace falls -- which is why every worker should know when it's safe to climb (and when it isn't).
Here are some of the basics every construction worker needs to keep in mind about ladder safety.
You need the right tools
There are different ladders for different jobs. Sometimes, a plain wooden stepladder is fine -- while other times you need a metal extension ladder. If you have to get to a difficult-to-reach space, it may even be necessary to construct a ladder specifically for the job.
Whatever ladder you ultimately use, make certain that:
- The ladder is resting against a stable foundation and surface.
- The incline of the ladder is not unnecessarily steep.
- Extension ladders or straight ladders are fastened to an upper support.
- The area around the ladder is blocked off so that no one can accidentally walk into it while someone is using it.
You need to take the right precautions
Even the best ladder won't protect you from an accident under certain conditions. Never start up a ladder if:
- You feel sick, dizzy, overly tired or have been using an intoxicating substance (including prescription medication).
- The weather is very windy, rainy or there is lightening.
- You are trying to carry tools in your hands. (Use a tool belt or have someone hand your tools up to you, instead.)
- There is already someone on the ladder. (A ladder is a one-person tool!)
A fall from a ladder can leave you with broken bones, an injured spine or traumatic brain injuries. Your injuries have the potential to be catastrophic, permanent and life-altering. If that happens, you need to take every legal action you can to protect your family's financial future and well-being.