Construction workers and contractors throughout Pennsylvania rely on the use of portable ladders to work on the numerous height levels of a project. Unfortunately, failure to follow proper safety protocols can lead to serious accidents with catastrophic results.
OSHA provides numerous tips regarding ladder safety. Here are seven safety recommendations that all workers in all occupations should follow:
- Avoid electrical hazards: Whether on a construction project or painting a house during a renovation, it is crucial that you are aware of power lines and exposed energized electrical equipment.
- Inspect the ladder: Before using the ladder, perform a visual inspection to identify any cracks, bends, fatigue or worn treads. If you do find a fault, notify your job supervisor and remove the ladder from use.
- Use three-point contact: When moving up or down the ladder, be sure to maintain three points of contact. This can either mean both hands and one foot or both feet and one hand for stability.
- Identify stable surfaces: The ladder should only be placed on level, stable surfaces before use.
- Engage locks: When using an extension ladder or a multi-position ladder, be sure the locks are properly engaged and stable.
- Verify load capacity: Ladders are all given different load ratings based on numerous factors. Be aware that this is not referencing only the weight of the worker, but any gear and equipment he or she might be carrying.
- Avoid moving the ladder when in use: It is not uncommon for workers to attempt to shift, lean or bounce a ladder into a new position while on it to save time. This is an unsafe practice and should be avoided at all costs.
Construction accidents and falls from height can lead to significant injuries that could last a lifetime. If you were injured on the job, it is wise to discuss your situation with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.