In workplaces around the world, ladders are important tools for employees to reach heights safely. However, ladder accidents can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities.
To ensure a safe working environment, employers must take proactive steps to prevent ladder accidents.
Provide comprehensive training
Supervisors must ensure that all employees receive thorough training on ladder safety. This training should cover selecting the right ladder for a task, setting it up and using safe climbing techniques. Along with initial training, regular refresher courses can reinforce these safety practices.
Workers must recognize potential hazards before setting up a ladder. This includes dangerous situations like uneven surfaces, overhead obstacles and slippery conditions. Employers should also encourage staff to report any safety concerns immediately.
Choose the right ladder
Different jobs may require different types of ladders, such as step ladders, extension ladders or platform ladders. Also, the ladder’s weight capacity must exceed the user’s weight. Employers should incorporate this information into safety training to help staff make wise decisions.
Maintain three points of contact
Consistently maintaining three points of contact on a ladder can reduce a person’s risk of falls and serious injuries. This means having two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, on the ladder at all times.
Establish emergency procedures
Even with safety practices in place, a ladder accident might still occur at work. Accordingly, employers must have established emergency procedures in place. To ensure they act quickly, employees must be aware of these procedures and know how to seek medical attention promptly.
Ladder inspections can create a safer working environment. Employers should urge employees to inspect ladders before each use to detect any damage or defects. If an employee finds a defect, they should not use the ladder until repair or replacement occurs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 161 people lost their lives in ladder accidents in 2020. To prevent these tragedies from happening, employers must make certain that their staff have the right tools and information to protect themselves when using ladders.