Construction sites are bustling with activity, and safety should always be the top priority. Among the many hazards that workers face, ladder accidents are unfortunately all too common.
In fact, falls from ladders account for a significant number of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. To mitigate these risks, every construction worker needs to know how to prioritize ladder safety. Here are some tips:
1. Choose the right ladder
Selecting the appropriate ladder for the task at hand is the first step in ensuring safety. Consider factors such as the ladder’s height, weight capacity, and material. Fiberglass ladders are highly recommended due to their non-conductive properties, making them suitable for electrical work. Additionally, opt for a ladder with slip-resistant rungs and sturdy locks or braces.
2. Inspect ladders before use
Before using any ladder, conduct a thorough inspection to identify potential hazards. Look for signs of damage, such as bent rungs, cracks or loose parts. Ensure that the ladder’s feet or base are in good condition and have slip-resistant pads.
3. Use proper placement
Where and how you position the ladder is critical for safety. Always put your ladder on a firm, level surface. Never place a ladder in front of a door or obstruct an exit route. Maintain a safe distance from power lines, machinery and other potential hazards.
4. Secure the ladder
To prevent accidents caused by ladder slippage, secure it properly. Tie off the ladder at the top and, if possible, at intermediate points using ropes or straps. Additionally, use ladder stabilizers or brackets to provide extra support and prevent side-to-side movement.
5. Maintain three-point contact
Maintaining three points of contact when climbing a ladder helps ensure stability. This means having either both feet and one hand or both hands and one foot in contact with the ladder at all times. Avoid carrying heavy tools or materials while climbing, as this can increase the risk of falling.
6. Minimize overloading
Ladders have weight limits for a reason, so avoid overloading them. Take into account your body weight, the weight of tools or materials you’re carrying and any equipment you may need to use. If the combined weight exceeds the ladder’s capacity, find an alternative solution.
Ladder accidents on construction sites can result in severe injuries. If you’ve been injured in a fall from a ladder at work, find out more about your workers’ compensation options.