Falls from heights are among the major risks that workers face. The main way that this happens is when a worker is on a ladder and something happens that causes them to fall to the floor or ground below. These falls could be catastrophic — from 30-foot painting ladders, for instance — but even a fall off of a short stepladder can lead to serious injuries.
For this reason, it’s important for workers to know what they can do to stay safe. Let’s examine some important safety tips.
Safe ladder practices on any job
Every time you have to use a ladder, no matter what industry you’re in, keep these tips in mind:
- Avoid reaching, either behind or to the sides. It can cause the ladder to tip itself, or you could lose your balance on the rungs. Ladders do not provide enough support to regain it.
- Use three points of contact at all times. This means that only one foot or one hand should leave the ladder at any given moment, even while working.
- Use the proper ladder. If your ladder is the wrong style or is too short, don’t try to “make it work.” Find a different ladder to do the job.
- Carefully consider where you set the ladder up. Even a brand new ladder in pristine condition can fail if it is set up on sloping or unsolid ground.
- Do not use a ladder without giving it an inspection. Never assume it’s in good condition, as someone else on the job may have damaged it.
These tips can help, but they won’t prevent all ladder accidents, and workers who get injured need to understand their rights to replacement income and other benefits through workers’ compensation.