If you’re a painter, a construction worker, a warehouse worker, an electrician or an employee in numerous other areas, you know that you need to work on ladders consistently. They’re a major part of the job and you couldn’t do much of your work without them.
However, these same ladders also pose a threat. Perhaps you’ve seen people slip and fall from them at work, or maybe you’ve had a close call yourself. You know how badly you could get injured, even if you only fall a few feet. But do you know how to keep yourself safe?
Your focus should always be safety
That personal safety should always be your main goal, even more than getting the job done quickly. You need to know that you are facing massive injury risks, even when doing simple tasks, just from being up so high. You also need to know how to avoid a serious incident, and these tips can help:
- Inspect your ladders every time you use them. Never assume they’re still in perfect condition, especially if other workers may have used them.
- Consider the condition of the ground where you set that ladder up, along with the angle at which it leans. Even in good condition, a ladder can easily fall if the ground is unstable or if the angle is too steep — or not steep enough.
- Strive to keep two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times, if not both hands. The minimum you shoot for should be three points of contact.
- Move the ladder if you feel like you need to lean and reach for something. Never stretch out so far that it tips to one side. Never climb up onto the top rungs.
- Beware of weight limits. Even if you are nowhere near that limit yourself, consider the weight of any tools and materials you may have up on the ladder with you.
- Consider other safety hazards, such as overhead power lines or doors at the base that could be opened into the ladder.
These tips can help, but accidents and injuries can still occur. You need to know what legal rights you have if you’re hurt on the job.