Working in construction can be hazardous, and as a new hire, you have a lot to learn. One of the tools you will need to use is a ladder. Ladders are handy by helping you reach heights without straining, but they can pose a real risk to workers on a job site. Missing a step could lead to falls. Working on an unstable ladder could result in it tipping or falling over, causing you to fall and injure yourself severely.
Thousands of people get injured every year
The fact is that annually, over 90,000 people suffer from ladder falls requiring emergency room treatment. These falls, which can be from as much as several stories above the ground, result in nearly 700 on-the-job deaths every year. Sadly, these fatal falls - of which many are preventable - make up 15 percent of all workplace deaths, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Falls are preventable with maintenance and safety training
While falls might be common, the truth is that they can be prevented. Making sure the steps on the ladder have good traction, checking for splits or damage in ladders and working in a buddy system with extra support for the ladder can all help prevent falls. Using ladders at the correct angles and always maintaining three points of contact with the ground or other areas help stabilize ladders to prevent tipping or sliding out of place. In most cases, keeping a second person at the bottom of the ladder for additional support keeps it steady as the other worker ascends higher up the rungs.
Choosing the wrong ladder compromises safety
Choosing the wrong ladder can create safety hazards. Ladders have specific weight limits and capacities that should not be exceeded. Exceeding safety limits can result in rungs breaking or buckling, causing injuries and falls. Your employer should provide ladders that are much taller than what's needed and to avoid making you stand on the top rung of the ladder.
These are just a few facts about ladder falls and safety techniques that could keep you safer in your workplace. New hires who are not trained correctly and fall can apply for workers' compensation. Those who are unfamiliar with their rights in such situations may decide to speak with a legal professional about their specific cases to preserve their rights to pursue compensation.