Ladders are an everyday part of life for those in certain professions. And, workplaces of all sorts have a ladder or stepladder stashed away for occasional use.
Your employer might ask you to climb one to change a lightbulb, take down decorations or retrieve something from a shelf. As with employees who use ladders frequently, you need to take great care. An accident could result in weeks off work or even death.
Ladder safety tips
The following can help you stay safe:
- Don’t be afraid to say no: If you dislike heights, feel unwell or are unhappy about going up the ladder for any reason, say no. Often, there are other ways to reach the height needed or others who feel confident about the task.
- Check the ladder: A ladder that is rarely used may be in poor condition. If you note signs of damage or weakness, ask your employer to replace it first. They have a duty to keep workers safe.
- Check the placement: Ensure the surfaces the ladder stands on and rests against will not give way or cause the ladder to slip. Check there are no power cables in the way and check nothing or no one could bump into the ladder.
- Do not overextend the ladder or yourself: Respect the maximum limits of the ladder and remember that reaching out too far or standing too high could put you and the ladder off balance and lead to a fall.
If you fall from a ladder, do not underestimate your injuries. Some damage may not become apparent till later. Get medical attention to assess the situation, then learn how to claim workers’ compensation, if needed.