Did you know March is National Ladder Safety Month? – II

Mar 22 2017

Earlier this month, we discussed how March 2017 has been designated by the American Ladder Institute as National Ladder Safety Month, a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to do everything from decrease ladder-related injuries and deaths to encourage the disposal of “old, damaged or obsolete ladders.”

To understand why such a program is necessary, consider that statistics show that as many as 500 workers are taken to emergency rooms every day for ladder accidents, with thousands left with disabling injuries and over 300 ultimately losing their lives each year.

Last time, we indicated that workers can protect themselves from becoming one of these statistics by ensuring that 1) the ladder they use is in good condition and 2) that they are using it properly.

Having examined the first point, today’s post will take a closer look at the second.

According to experts, proper ladder use entails the following:

  • Select the proper ladder: Before starting a project, determine that the ladder is tall enough so that you can avoid standing on the top step or top cap, able to withstand your weight and the weight of your equipment, and made of the most appropriate material (i.e., fiberglass is non-conductive).
  • Set up appropriately: Before starting a project ensure that there are no obstructions overhead (branches, wires, etc.) and the ground is level. If the ground is not level, don’t use rocks, bricks or boards to try to address the issue, but rather use a safety product or dig appropriately.
  • Use the ladder properly: When climbing the ladder, maintain three points of contact and make as many trips as necessary to avoid overloading your arms. Once working, be certain to keep your body inside the rails at all times and resist the urge to overreach, as it’s the primary cause of fatal and disabling ladder accidents. Simply climb down and move the ladder over.    

Here’s hoping the foregoing information has served as a helpful reminder.

Always remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you’ve suffered a serious work injury and your initial claim for workers’ compensation benefits was denied.