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3 questions to ask before ascending a ladder at work

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Many workplaces have ladders. Some use them a lot and some only pull them out occasionally, such as to hang the Christmas decorations. Regardless, ladders can be dangerous.

Each year over 300 people die when using them and another 500,000 need treatment for injuries. Here are three questions to ask yourself before going up one:

1. Is there a better way?

Sometimes there is a safer alternative to a ladder. That might be moving a table to stand on, or, for a bigger task, hiring a mobile elevator work platform (MEWP) or erecting scaffolding. While a ladder might seem quick and easy, the consequences of a fall could be long and difficult.

2. Am I the best person?

Don’t let anyone pressure you into climbing a ladder. And don’t be too proud or scared to say you don’t want to do it. Not everyone has a head for heights. Or maybe you are fine with heights but don’t have suitable clothing or shoes on today. Or perhaps you are just feeling tired or hungover and while you would be happy to go up any other day, would prefer not to right now.

3. How can we make it safer?

Maybe you are happy to climb a ladder for this task but would be happier with a different ladder as the one presented to you is in poor condition or slightly too short. Perhaps the ground is a little soft so you can use some boards to provide a stable base. Perhaps moving it a few inches to the left would be better. Maybe you could wait until the rain stops so the ladder will be less slippery. Remember, you can also ask someone to hold the ladder for you.

Despite your best precautions, an accident could still happen. If it does, you may need to learn how to claim workers’ compensation.