For many workers in various industries, one of the most dangerous things they have to do is climb a ladder. This could mean a construction worker climbing a two-story ladder to work on a roof, but it could also mean an electrician climbing a stepladder to install a light. Any time that a person gets higher than the level that they’re working on, the risks of severe head and spinal cord injuries increase dramatically. A fall can cause significant injuries, even when they’re just a few feet off of the ground.
To help you stay safe, consider the following ladder safety tips.
The foundation matters
First off, the space where you set up the ladder has to be level and free from all debris. You never want to set the ladder up on soft ground or anything that could shift while you climb. The biggest reason why people set ladders up in unsafe spaces is simply because they’re in a rush, so always take your time.
You want 3 points of contact
Once you begin climbing, it’s crucial that you maintain three points of contact at all times. This means moving one hand or foot at a time while all the others stay in contact with the ladder, ensuring that you are less likely to slip. Never rush up the ladder or try to carry anything in your hand so that you have to entirely let go.
You need to consider the design of the ladder itself
Finally, people often just use whatever ladder they have on hand and assume that any one is as safe as the next, but this is not true. You want to make sure you have a ladder that is designed for the space in which you’re working. Step ladders are much different than extension ladders, for instance, and fiberglass ladders may be safer in situations where there is the potential for electrical contact. Finally, you want to read the warnings on the ladders to ensure that you understand the weight limits and exactly how to set them up in a safe manner.
Unfortunately, my workers are hurt every single day in ladder falls, even when they try to be as safe as they can. If you’ve suffered a severe injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, you need to know about all of your rights.