If you work in the construction industry, there's a good chance that you use a variety of tools throughout your day. For example, ladders are a big part of your job, as these help you reach varying heights, such as if you need to reach a roof or paint a building.
Even if you've been using a ladder for many years, there are steps you must take at all times to maintain your safety. Here are several to keep in mind:
- Choose the right size ladder for the job: If you need an extension ladder, don't rely on a portable ladder to reach the appropriate height. This may force you to reach or stand on the top rung, both of which are dangerous.
- Check your ladder for defects and damage: Don't use a ladder until you carefully inspect it, as you could find something wrong that puts your safety at risk.
- Maintain three points of contact: You should have two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder at all times. This helps you maintain your balance.
- Place the ladder on firm and level ground: It's not always easy to find this, but it's an absolute must from a safety perspective. Placing a ladder on sloping or soft ground greatly increases the risk of it tipping.
- Don't place a ladder close to traffic: This includes both people and vehicular traffic.
- Don't climb a ladder in wet conditions: If it's raining, for example, you should avoid using a ladder, as the moisture can cause you to slip on your way up or down.
- One person at a time: There is never a good time for more than one person to climb a ladder simultaneously.
- Don't carry a heavy load: If you carry a heavy load, any movement to the side could cause you to lose your balance and fall to the ground below.
If you fall from a ladder, ask a coworker to call 911 for help. Although you shouldn't attempt to move, it's okay to administer first-aid until paramedics arrive.
Once you receive treatment at a local hospital and have a clear idea of your injuries and prognosis, you can decide what to do next. If your doctor suggests time away from work as you recover, don't hesitate to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.