If you are a construction worker in Pittsburgh, you probably already know that your job is dangerous. In fact, the construction industry has one of the highest rates of workplace accidents compared to other jobs. While there are many hazards on job sites, such as exposed live wires, falling objects and potentially malfunctioning equipment, falls are the leading cause of injuries for construction workers. Falling just a few feet off a ladder can cause broken bones, a concussion and other serious injuries.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of a workplace accident involving a ladder. Here are some ladder safety tips that everyone should follow.
Read the label
Ladders have safety labels that address their proper use, the weight they can hold and how to properly position them. Most people fail to read the label for various reasons however, this is the first thing you should do when you plan to use a ladder.
Check the height
It is important to use the right ladder for the job. This means it needs to be tall enough so that you can reach the area where you intend to work without having to step on the last few rungs. For instance, if you are working on a roof, you will want the ladder to be tall enough so that you can not only move from it to the roof but be able to easily climb back onto the ladder as well.
One of the most common reasons why people fall from ladders is that the ladder is not properly positioned and the individual ends up leaning out too far, resulting in a loss of balance. While it might seem like too much of a hassle to climb down the ladder simply to move it a few feet or inches before climbing back up, the extra effort could save your life.
Don’t get creative
Ladders are intended to be used in very specific ways. For example, you should never use a ladder as a bridge or scaffolding substitute. Also, the shelf on the ladder is not a step and will not support the weight of a person. Trying to use a ladder outside of its purpose can easily lead to an injury.
Use a firm and level surface
Before you set foot on a ladder, be sure that it is on a firm and level surface. Uneven or rocky ground can cause the ladder to be unstable and increase your chances of a fall. You may need to the move the ladder a foot or two to one side or the other to ensure it is level.
While the above safety tips can help decrease your chances of an accident, sometimes it is impossible to avoid a fall. If you have suffered an injury due to a workplace accident, you might be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation and receive the benefits you deserve.