Whether you work in a warehouse, retail space, office or anywhere else, you probably use ladders either occasionally or frequently. While these tools seem relatively harmless, they can be deadly. In fact, according to the American National Standards Institute, ladders kill about 300 Americans every year.
Another 130,000 individuals go to the emergency room for ladder-related injuries annually. One of the more effective ways to avoid a catastrophic injury is to set up your ladder correctly. This may be easier in theory than it is in practice, though.
Read the ladder’s instructions
Ladders have been around for thousands of years, so you may think you know how to use one safely. Nevertheless, ladder misuse is alarmingly common in workplaces across the country. To be certain you are setting up your ladder correctly, it is vital to read the ladder’s instructions. These may be on a label on the side of the ladder or in a paper or downloadable user’s manual.
Watch for overhead powerlines
Even though your greatest risk is probably falling off your ladder, you do not want to sustain an electrical shock. Therefore, before moving your ladder, you should inspect all areas above your head. If you see overhead powerlines, it is wise to stay as far away from them as possible.
Check the surface
Ladder collapses happen when ladders slip out from beneath workers. This is often due to slick, shifting or uneven surfaces. When you set up your ladder, you should find a solid and slip-free foundation. Remember, inclement weather can cause good foundations to become unacceptable quickly.
Ultimately, regardless of whether you made some mistake when setting up your ladder, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries you suffer when working on or with it.