There are many professions in which you use a ladder to complete a variety of tasks. For example, roofers and painters use ladders all day long, as this equipment makes their job more efficient and safe.
Using a ladder may be indispensable for work, but you should only do so if you’re 100 percent dedicated to your safety. There are many common mistakes that can result in a ladder accident, including the following:
- Failure to maintain three points of contact: You should always have three points of contact on the ladder. Your two options include: one foot and two hands, or two hands and one foot. This helps maintain stability no matter what part of the ladder you’re on.
- Placing the ladder on uneven ground: This is a common mistake when you’re in a hurry or not climbing high on a ladder. Uneven ground can cause the ladder to tip, especially as you climb higher.
- The wrong size ladder for the job: For example, trying to use a portable ladder to reach the top of a one-story building could result in leaning and reaching as you make your way toward the top.
- Carrying a heavy load: You should never carry a heavy load on a ladder, as it increases the risk of losing your balance. All it takes is a slight lean to the side for the load to pull you off the ladder.
- Missing the last step when descending: You’re almost to the bottom of the ladder and you assume you’re safe. However, you misjudge how many steps are left and miss the last one or two. This can cause you to tumble to the ground.
These are many mistakes that can cause a ladder accident, and you must protect against all of them for your safety.
If you’re involved in a ladder accident on the job, do these things:
- Administer first-aid
- Call 911 for help (or ask a coworker to do so)
- Report the accident and your injuries to your supervisor
- Follow the direction of your medical team
If you do all these things and find that you’re unable to return to work because of a serious injury, take the first step in filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. You can use the money you receive to help you get by financially until you can return to work.