Jobs that require frequent ladder use pose significant risk to employees and passersby. The ascent, descent and work that takes place on a ladder can easily lead to a fall if proper safety precautions are not taken.
Under the United States Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes safety requirements that can help reduce the risk of a ladder accident.
If you work on a ladder, comply with these important requirements by ensuring that your ladder is:
- Used only for the purpose it was designed for
- Not coated with any material that may disguise structural defects (if wooden)
- Made with corrosion-resistant material or protected against corrosion (if metal)
- Free of puncture and laceration hazards
- Inspected for defects before initial use during each work shift
- Tagged “Dangerous: Do Not Use” or similar language if there are defects
- Equipped with rungs and steps in elevator shafts that are spaced no less than 6 inches (15 cm) apart and no more than 16.5 inches (42 cm) apart
- Equipped with rungs, steps, and cleats that have a minimum clear width of 11.5 inches (29 cm) on portable ladders and 16 inches (41 cm) for fixed ladders
Employees working on ladders should:
- Use at least one hand to grasp the ladder when ascending and descending the ladder
- Face the ladder while climbing it
- Avoid carrying objects or load that could cause a loss of balance while climbing the ladder
These are just a few of the general requirements for ladders in the workplace. Employers and employees can learn more about specific requirements for portable ladders, ladders that are part of machinery, step ladders are more from the OSHA.
Injuries suffered from a fall can lead to lost wages and expensive medical bills. If you’ve been hurt in a ladder accident at work, consider discussing the incident with a lawyer. Regardless of whether your employer was negligent, benefits may be available.