Construction workers, please don’t overlook ladder safety. Your life and the lives of your colleagues may depend on it. At construction sites, this common and necessary piece of equipment is used for roofing, painting and other general repair work.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the people at the greatest risk of a ladder fall are workers who are male, Hispanic, older, self-employed and work for smaller companies. Injuries from a ladder fall can be serious and include fractures, sprains, contusions, lacerations as well as spinal and brain injuries.
Ladder safety tips
A fall can happen at any time, and it’s always unexpected. The top safety tip is to make sure you know how to properly use a ladder. Here are other pointers on ladder safety:
- Get proper training before using a ladder. Work site managers should know how to train employees.
- Select the right ladder for the job. For example, if you need to reach something above the length of a ladder, get a longer ladder.
- Inspect all ladders before using them. Old, worn and damaged ladders are contributing risk factors in construction accidents. Ladders don’t last forever and can break down. Get rid of the ladder if it doesn’t pass such an inspection and buy a new one.
- Use the ladder correctly. Always maintain “three points of contact” when climbing up or down a ladder to ensure stability (either two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand).
- Position the ladder on level and firm ground.
- Always have a second person help you by supporting the base while the ladder is in use.
- Tools and materials should be carried on your tool belt or hauled up by a rope.
- Make sure to wear non-slip shoes.
- Never stand on the top rung of a ladder.
Follow these guidelines and you may prevent accidents from happening.