The do’s and don’ts of ladder safety

Ladders are an integral part of projects ranging from a home renovation to the erection of a skyscraper. These common tools, however, are not without danger. Construction workers must remain safe when working on or around ladders to avoid severe injuries.

Here are some examples of what workers should do to remain safe on ladders:

  • Do get trained. There are important points to remember regarding recognizing ladder hazards and the proper use of various models. It is also crucial to remember the maximum load-carrying capacity not only includes the worker, but any gear or material he or she is carrying.
  • Do inspect the ladder. Workers are wise to look for any broken treads, fatigued rungs or damaged hinges.
  • Do maintain three points of contact. Both hands and a foot or two feet and one hand can provide the stability necessary for safe ladder usage.
  • Do use stable ground. To get a job done quickly, some workers might place a ladder in a location that is convenient but unsafe. Ensure the ladder is standing on stable, level ground before ascending.

Here are some examples of what workers should never do while on a ladder:

  • Don’t stand on the top rung unless the label states that it is safe to do so. More often than not, the ladder instructions will caution workers to avoid the top of the ladder. At this height, it is easy to lose your balance or topple the stability of the ladder itself.
  • Don’t overreach or overextend. It is important to keep your weight centered and balanced while working on the ladder. Overextension in any direction can unbalance the equipment.
  • Don’t reposition the ladder while in use. It might seem easier to simply bounce the ladder into a new position rather than climbing down, moving it and climbing back up. Take the extra time to remain safe.
  • Don’t face away from the ladder when ascending or descending. You will not be able to maintain three points of contact and can quickly lose your balance.

From home renovation to heavy construction, ladders and scaffolding are common sights. Construction workers rely on safe equipment and stable ladders to complete even a small task uninjured. If a ladder falls or collapses, however, serious injuries can follow. If you were injured while performing a job task, it is wise to discuss your case with a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.