Working on a ladder is a way of life for many people. From painters to roofers, there are millions of professionals who spend a good portion of their day working at height.
Even if using a ladder is second nature, you should never lose sight of the fact that you could be part of an accident.
- Carefully inspect the ladder: Before you take your first step, make sure you inspect the ladder for defects and damage. You could come across something like a missing bolt or rust buildup.
- Find solid and level ground: Placing a ladder on soft and/or uneven ground increases the risk of an accident. Search for solid, level ground and test it before you attempt to climb to the top of the ladder.
- Beware of pedestrians and vehicles: In short, you should never set a ladder in close proximity to exit doors or the roadway. It only takes one person or one vehicle to knock into your ladder, thus leading to an accident.
- Don't carry heavy loads: You should never carry a heavy load up or down a ladder, as this could cause you to lose your balance and topple to the ground below. If you need to transport a heavy load do so with the proper machinery.
- Maintain three points of contact: This is something everyone learns early on, but many forget as the years go by. You should always have three points of contact with the ladder, such as two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot.
- Use the right ladder for the job: For example, if you need an extension ladder you shouldn't use something smaller and hope your reach compensates for the lack of height.
Even if you do these things it's no guarantee that you will never be part of a ladder accident.
If you find yourself injured in this type of workplace accident, report the incident to your supervisor and call for immediate help.
As you recover, your medical team will help you better understand what you should and shouldn't be doing. If you're unable to return to work, it may be time to file a workers' compensation claim.