We often underestimate how potentially dangerous ladders can be. We work on ladders often and are typically rushing to complete work. It’s simple to lean just a little to hit that last spot that’s slightly beyond your reach, or to balance yourself on the top rung of a ladder, instead of stopping to get a longer ladder. However, these scenarios lead to serious injury on a daily basis. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year. Also, 15 percent of all occupational deaths were caused by elevated falls. Clearly, ladder safety needs to be a focus for all workers, including roofers.
Ladder Mistakes and Ladder Safety
Below are a few common mistakes workers make when using ladders, along with some ladder safety tips:
• Not using a ladder correctly: Ladder use may seem simple. You set a ladder out, you go up the ladder, and you do your work. However, there are number of ways that we put ourselves in danger when using a ladder.
- Never use a ladder without pulling the spreaders all the way out. You can tip over if you put your entire weight on the ladder in this scenario.
- Make sure that you are making contact with the ladder at three points. This means having two feet on a rung and one hand on the side.
- Never carry equipment as you are going up the ladder.
• Leaning away from the ladder: Your body should always stay in front of the ladder, shifting away from it also shifts your balance, which could cause the ladder to fall. Make sure that your belt buckle is always between the two rails of the ladder.
• Using the wrong ladder: We often realize after we start a job that our ladder is not quite long enough. Rather than searching for a longer ladder, we either stand at the top of the ladder or place the ladder on something to make it taller, like bricks. Both behaviors puts you in an unsafe situation. It may take an extra minute to get the right ladder, but you’ll lose more time if you have to go to the emergency room.
• Ladder placement: Similar to using the wrong ladder, we often put the ladder in the wrong place. We are in a rush and unwilling to find the proper placement for our ladder. Unstable surfaces can cause near immediate injury because the ladder cannot support your weight.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.