Your profession may call for you to regularly use a ladder. For example, roofers use ladders all day long. The same holds true for painters and construction workers.
While using a ladder makes your job much easier, it also increases the risk of a serious accident.
Understanding the most common causes of ladder accidents can help you prevent trouble. Here are five mistakes you never want to make when using a ladder:
- Placing a ladder on uneven or soft ground: You should only place a ladder on firm and level ground, as neglecting to do so increases the risk of tipping as you climb to the top. If you want to enhance your safety, ask someone to hold the ladder as you climb.
- Missing the last step: You're climbing down a ladder and you know you're close to the ground. However, instead of exercising caution, you miss the last step (or steps). Depending on how high you are, this could lead you to hit the ground with great force.
- Overreaching: A common mistake that many people make, especially those who are not using the right size ladder for the job. When you overreach, you increase the likelihood of your ladder tipping.
- The wrong size ladder: When selecting a ladder, make sure it's big enough to reach your desired height. Just the same, make sure the ladder doesn't extend too far past your landing point.
- Neglecting to maintain three points of contact: Climbing a ladder is dangerous, so you need to keep in close contact with it at all times. You should always maintain three points of contact, which is two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot. Doing this helps you maintain control and stability.
These are just a few of the many types of mistakes that can result in a ladder accident at work.
If this happens to you, do the following:
- Call for immediate help or ask a coworker to do so
- Administer first aid for any injuries
- Inform your employer of the accident and your injuries
- Follow the advice of your medical team in regard to treatment
After you do these things, you can decide if it makes sense to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. If your injuries will keep you out of work, it makes good sense to do so.