As part of its fall prevention campaign, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released guidance documents to help reduce construction fall accidents involving ladders.
Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, and many of these falls occur from ladders. Often these accidents are entirely preventable and can be avoided if workers are trained in the safe use of ladders.
OSHA estimates that ladder-related falls account for nearly one-third of all fall-related fatalities in the construction sector every year. Among the guidance documents, OSHA offers a special ladder safety booklet that comes not just with specific instructions but also with clear and concise diagrams about the right way to use ladders.
Ladders are not always necessary for every type of work. Before a worker uses a ladder, it is important to determine whether the ladder is really necessary. If you determine that you need a ladder, you must decide whether to use a step ladder, extension ladder or a common ladder. Your decisions depend on the kind of items that you need to hold when you’re on the ladder, the amount of time that you need to stand on the ladder and other factors.
Workers must avoid carrying tools when they’re walking up and down a ladder, and the ladder must maintain three points of contact at all times. The ladder must be placed on stable ground and must be fully extended before use. These and the steps outlined in the OSHA documents can help reduce the risk of ladder-related falls.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned. Contact us if about your legal options.