Don’t Fall Victim to Ladder Accidents


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Ladders are so commonly used by contractors that it is easy to forget the danger they pose. But falls from heights are a leading cause of death and injury in the construction industry. Ladder accidents can occur for many reasons, but some of the most common causes are overreaching, attempting to carry heavy tools up by hand, placing ladders in front of unsecured doors or on unstable surfaces, and attempting to use damaged or defective ladders. 

Take time to train employees on ladder types, and proper use and positioning.  

Select the right ladder for the job. Your ladder should be:  

  • Tall enough to reach the height you need 
  • Rated to handle the combined weight of you, your materials, and your equipment 
  • Safe for the conditions, for example, don’t use a metal ladder near electricity 

Set the ladder up firmly and properly. Before you take your first step up: 

  • Place the ladder on level ground, with feet parallel to the surface it rests against 
  • Extend the ladder at least three feet above the top support 
  • Anchor the top and tie the bottom – or have someone hold it 
  • Angle straight and extension ladders so that the distance from the base of the ladder to the wall is one-fourth the ladder’s working length 

Climb and work on ladders safely. Now that you’re ready to use the ladder, remember: 

  • Wear shoes with clean, nonskid, non-leather soles 
  • Only allow one person on the ladder at a time 
  • Climb up and down facing the ladder and maintain three points of contact at all times 
  • Carry tools on a belt, rope, or hoist 
  • Don’t stand on the top two stepladder steps or top four ladder rungs 
  • Center your body on the ladder so that your belt buckle is between the side rails 

Encourage your employees to speak up if they observe a co-worker using a ladder in an unsafe manner or notice a ladder in poor condition. Whether you’re working at two feet or twenty feet in the air, no one wants to fall victim to a ladder accident. 

This publication is intended to provide general information and recommendations regarding risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce, but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein is not intended to identify or cover all risk exposures.  The information presented may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations applicable to your business. Qualified counsel should be sought regarding questions specific to your circumstances. © 2021 Federated Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

Federated Insurance

Posted In: ACCA Now, Safety

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