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Avoiding ladder falls: tips for staying upright

As someone who works in construction, it's normal for you to use a ladder. The problem with ladders is that there is a high risk of falling, especially when they are not used correctly. In the wrong circumstances, someone could fall and be severely hurt or even killed.

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that falls remained a leading cause of death, and around half of those were the result of using ladders. Approximately 43 percent of all falls in the last 10 years, as of the 2014 report, involved ladders.

Who is most at risk of ladder falls?

Statistics show that men and Hispanics are most likely to suffer from ladder falls and have higher rates of nonfatal and fatal incidents than women, or other races or ethnicities. Fatality rates are also higher for people working as independent contractors. Wage workers had approximately 0.06 incidents per 100,000 full-time workers, whereas independent contractors saw 0.3 incidents per 100,000 workers.

How can you be safer on ladders when you're working?

The first and most important thing to do is to make sure you're using the right ladder for the job. You don't want to use a ladder that leans against a building, for example, if the ground is not stable, you have no partner to help hold the ladder or if it doesn't extend far enough past the place where you want to climb.

Similarly, you don't want a ladder that is too short, because if you have to reach, you could overextend yourself, become unbalanced and fall.

At work, it's important for individuals to discuss ladder safety often. When you talk about ladder safety in the workplace, make sure everyone is present and that you discuss ways to mitigate risk. For instance, placing a leaning ladder against a firm surface and on solid ground is vital to make sure it doesn't slip. Examining ladders for defects each time they're used also helps eliminate the risk of broken rings or falls from slipping.

When safety becomes an important part of your work day, you can help prevent workplace accidentsthat would result in workers' compensation claims. Take your time when learning about ladder safety and make sure everyone knows how to use them correctly and in the right circumstances. Doing this will make a difference when it comes to avoiding injuries in the workplace.

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