Most workplaces have a ladder. Yet, many people do not treat them with the respect they deserve. That can lead to injuries.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), half a million people need treatment after ladder injuries each year. While some of that is due to people using ladders at home, many accidents occur in the workplace.
Ladders are not as simple as they look
Compared to a scaffold or rope and harness set up, a ladder may appear straightforward to use. However, there is still a lot that can go wrong.
Let’s imagine you are on the first day of your new job at an ice-skating rink. Your employer asks you to grab a ladder and change a lightbulb. To ensure you stay safe, the ladder needs to be one that:
- You know how to use: Employers have a duty to provide you with safety training.
- You are dressed to use: Not climbing the ladder in your skates seems obvious. Yet, people often climb with the footwear they have on rather than change into something more suitable.
- Is in good condition: The ladder your employer points at has been sitting out in the rain, unused for the last two years. Its wooden rungs are sunbleached, and two rungs are missing.
- Is sited and secured properly: A ladder placed on the ice is likely to slip.
- Is necessary to use: Your employer has a team coming in to install decorations on the ceiling. They have a mobile elevating work platform parked up, ready to do the job. Why can they not change the lightbulb at the same time?
Climbing a ladder can be a quick way to complete a task. Yet, the consequences when something goes wrong could last a lifetime. Workers’ compensation insurance can help you financially, but it may never erase the thought that using an alternative way to get to height may have been wiser.