Are Ladders Safe to Use at Work?
Written & Edited By: Cecily Johnson, Legal Secretary & PR Manager
Many jobs require the use of a ladder. They provide quick access things out of reach. They are cheaper and faster to set up than scaffolding or ropes and harnesses. They can easily be moved between sites and do not take a lot of space to store. However, these convenience factors can come at a cost to safety. Ladder falls are a major portion of workplace injuries with around 90,000 people ending up in hospital emergency rooms each year (Magari, Construction ladder safety – safe t professionals 2019).
Employers Are Required To Provide You With Proper Training
Due to the extensive number ladder related injuries, an employer must give or offer you training before asking you to shimmy up one (United States Department of Labor). Although safely using a ladder may seem like common sense, there are plenty of precautions workers can take to help prevent a workplace injury.
Top Ladder Related Injuries
Over the last 10 years the amount of ladder-related injuries has increased 50% (United States Department of Labor). Here are some of the most common injuries:
- Bone Fractures – over 35% of ladder related injuries are fractures
- Head Injuries – including concussions,
- Death – about 700 occupational deaths per year
Preventing Ladder Related Injuries
In addition to your employer’s training, here are some essential safety tips to keep you safe while on the job (How to use a ladder safely: A complete guide 2019):
- Choose the correct ladder for the job. Ensure that the ladder you are using has a maximum height close to what you are reaching for. Additionally, check the weight limit on the manufacture’s label.
- Make sure the ladder is level. Uneven flooring increases the risk of a fall.
- Check the ladder for damage prior to climbing up it. Burrs, rust, cracks, loose rungs, lack of step grip, etc. just to name a few.
- Ensure that the ladder is set up at the right angle. Many ladders have locking mechanisms that help with this. A good rule of thumb is that for every four feet of incline you need, the base of the latter should be one foot out.
- Maintain the three points of contact rule. Always make sure you have at least three points of contact holding yourself onto the ladder. This greatly lowers your risk of losing your balance and/or falling off.
Have You or a Loved One Suffered From a Ladder Related Workplace Injury?
No matter your occupation, if you or a loved one have suffered from a ladder-related workplace injury report it to your employer and get medical care. Workers’ Compensation coverage should come in to play with these injuries. Working with an attorney may help you to get the benefits you’re due while protecting your rights.
Department of Labor logo United States department of labor. Use of fixed ladders constructed prior to the effective date of 29 CFR 1926 – Subpart X. | Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2006-09-05-0#:~:text=29%20CFR%201926.1053%20%28a%29%20%284%29%20%28i%29%20requires%2C%20The,after%20the%20fixed%20ladders%20in%20question%20were%20installed.
How to use a ladder safely: A complete guide. ElectroSawHQ.com. (2019, February 1). https://electrosawhq.com/how-to-use-a-ladder-safely/.
Magari. (2019, October 31). Construction ladder safety – safe t professionals. Safe T Pros. https://safetpros.com/construction-ladder-safety/.