Falls are one of the most dangerous things that can happen to an employee. As a result, a ladder should be respected and considered to be a dangerous tool, not something that is taken for granted. A fall from a ladder can have catastrophic ramifications.
One thing that can help to keep employees safe is if they consider the various mistakes that other workers have made on ladders and how those can lead to accidents. With a focus on avoiding these mistakes, ladder falls could become less common. Here are a few examples.
Not using three points of contact
Three points of contact mean that two feet and a hand – or two hands and one foot – should be on the ladder at all times. However, workers will sometimes violate this rule while trying to carry tools or supplies up the ladder.
Leaning over when something is out of reach
Another common issue is when a worker climbs a ladder and discovers that the place where they need to work is slightly out of reach. Maybe it’s just a few inches off to the side. They should get down and move the ladder to the side before climbing again, making it easy to reach the proper point. But many people simply try to lean to the side, the ladder slips or loses balance, and they fall.
Rushing when climbing the ladder
Rushing can cause a lot of related problems in the workplace. Someone who climbs the ladder too quickly may be more likely to slip, especially if they’re not wearing slip-resistant shoes. Two workers who are in a hurry may attempt to use the ladder at the same time, which is dangerous. A worker could decide to climb the back supports, rather than the rungs, leading to a fall.
Using On Unlevel Surfaces
When positioning the ladder, make sure you plant it on solid level ground. If you put the ladder on a slope or on a wet slippery surface, it can very likely slide or move when climbing. And then we know what happens next. Also when resting the top of the ladder, make sure it is secure against where you are leaning it, otherwise it can slide sideways or fall backward when climbing.
Workers should always perform their duties in a slow and careful manner. That said, even workers who do all this could still be injured in a fall on the job. If they are, they need to know what rights they have to workers’ comp.