Falls from heights account for a large percentage of work accidents, and in many cases, injuries sustained by falling involved improper use of ladders, the wrong type or height of ladder, or badly maintained ladders.
Type of ladder
In order to prevent potentially serious work injuries, it is necessary to select the right type of ladder. To reach a ceiling fixture in a room of normal height, for example, a six-foot stepladder should be sufficient, while trying to get at difficult to reach places in high, often awkward stairwells may require the use of a speciality ladder, which can be bent at a 90-degree angle. Cleaning out gutters, on the other hand, is best done with the help of an extension ladder.
Ladder height and workplace accidents
The length, or height, of a ladder is basically determined by the height of the task to be carried out. A good rule of thumb is to remember never to stand above the fourth rung (extension ladders) or the third rung (stepladders) from the top. Tall stepladders used to work on roofs should extend beyond the roofline by at least three feet, while extension ladders leaning against rooflines and gutters must extend a minimum of one foot beyond the roofline.
Ladders leaning against buildings, gutters or rooflines must be placed at a 75 degree angle to the side of the building/wall and secured safely at the top. Having a second person standing at the bottom will further help to prevent falling injuries. This, by the way, applies to the use of all ladders, regardless of type or height.
Before using a ladder, it is essential to carefully check all rungs/steps, locking mechanisms and platforms for potential damage. Using a defective ladder could result in serious, even fatal work-related injuries.
Weight load and fall injuries
All ladders have a specific duty rating, which is the maximum safe load a ladder is capable of supporting. To prevent being injured by falls due to overloading ladders, it is important to ensure that the total weight of the individual using the ladder and any equipment they may be carrying do not exceed this limit.
If you sustained a work injury by falling off a ladder, you may be entitled to work injury compensation. Make a call to Accident Advice Helpline as soon as possible to get your no win no fee* industrial injury claim started.
Date Published: March 12, 2014
Author: David Brown