Regardless of where you work, there is a good chance your job duties require you to step on a ladder at least occasionally. While they are simple tools, ladders also can be inherently dangerous. Even if you practice ladder-safety techniques, you may eventually suffer a serious injury when working with one on a job-site.
While some of the dangers ladders present are obvious, others are not so readily apparent. Still, before climbing onto a ladder, you should recognize the risks they pose to workers around the country.
By far, falling is the biggest risk when working with ladders. In fact, according to the American National Standards Institute, approximately 500,000 individuals fall from ladders every single year in the U.S. To stay safe, you should always keep two points of body contact with the ladder when you are on it.
The purpose of ladders is to reach spaces that are far above your head. Unfortunately, power lines may occupy these same spaces. Before moving any ladder, you should look up to ensure the airspace is free from electrical wires and other electrocution hazards. Do not forget also to inspect the overhead space on your entire route.
Even though many ladders are lightweight, others weigh more than 100 pounds. If you need to move a ladder, you should be sure to do it ergonomically. After all, lifting a heavy ladder may cause you to sustain soft-tissue injuries, such as muscle strains, sprains or tears. You also may be vulnerable to nerve damage and herniated disks when repositioning your ladder.
While exercising care when working with or near ladders certainly reduces your risk of suffering a workplace injury, you probably can never eliminate it. Ultimately, by reporting your injury immediately after it occurs and seeking prompt medical treatment, you may have an easier time securing the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.