Ladder accidents occur frequently for both construction workers and for people working at home. When looking specifically at construction site injuries, many accidents may be caused by the negligence of another worker or the employer. However; some accidents are directly caused by product malfunction, user error, or unsafe working conditions. Studies show there are over 500,000 reported injuries every year caused by ladder related accidents, 300 of which result in death. Sadly, these numbers could have been significantly reduced had the users been in the proper working conditions and their equipment regularly checked for safety hazards.
There are many instances in which a construction worker relies on the usage of their company ladder to accomplish their tasks, and when their employers are not keeping an eye on the proper safety standards, workers are injured or killed. Here are a few tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to consider in order preventing a tragic accident like this from happening to you or a love one.
First and foremost, you want to make sure the ladder you are about to climb on is safe before every use. While this may sound monotonous, you can never be sure your ladder hasn't been damaged or switched out when on a work site. All it takes is one time for a loose screw to pop out and send you crashing to the floor. Make sure when carrying a ladder, you do so with it parallel to the floor. Also, use caution when using the ladder or storing it. Be certain that it remains clear from any oils or gases as this may cause for a slippery surface and create a hazard.
When using a ladder make sure you are aware of its maximum capacity for weight, and never exceed that amount. The ladders are tested to carry a certain number, and you don't want to be the person to discover where its breaking point is. When on a worksite, make sure you and your co-workers properly mark off the surrounding area of your ladder so that it cannot be hit or affected by the surrounding location, such as traffic on a street. By taking a few extra moments to do so just may save a life. Another common hazard to be aware of is using the wrong ladder for the work you are doing. Be certain that a ladder can be used and that you do not need a heavier duty device to carry you and the tools.
Make sure that while you are on a ladder that you do not attempt to move or adjust it. Adjustments are meant to be done when there is no excess weight, and therefore can be very dangerous if done with you on it. A common mistake ladder users can make is to stand on the very top step, which is very dangerous. The top step will usually have a "do not step" sign, and is meant more so to place a can of paint or a tool as opposed to carrying your body; don't risk it!
For those who work with electrical equipment, make sure that your ladder is meant specifically for that. Use one that has non-conductive side rails in order to prevent electrocution while on the ladder. When climbing up or down the ladder, every user wants to make sure that they are facing the ladder and not trying to descend as they would a flight of stairs. If you can, use both hands to prevent falling. This can be done by wearing the proper tool belt around your waist, one that allows your hands to be free when trying to move on the ladder.
A simple instruction to remember when using a ladder is the "three points" rule. This means that if at all possible try to maintain at least three areas of your body in contact with the ladder. This can mean both feet and one and or one hand and both feet, by doing so will help prevent you from falling. Lastly, try to never lean over the width of the ladder, you can remember this by keeping your wait between both polls. Attempting to lean may throw off the balance of the ladder and could send you crashing to the floor.
Safety is to be taken very seriously on the work site and even in your own home. Always use caution when climbing ladders and be aware of the potential dangers at hand. If you or someone you know has been injured in a workplace accident, contact Arnold & Itkin today for the legal representation that you deserve!