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Ladder falls: Staying safe with protective techniques

You had to get up on a ladder at work. You had a job to do, and with no one else around, you balanced it against the wall and made sure it was secure. The ladder extended beyond where you had to reach, and you didn't have to move precariously to do what had to get done.

You were surprised when you ended up falling. It wasn't because the ladder moved to the side or back. Instead, the ring broke out from under you. You had no idea the rung was damaged, and now you have injuries that you have to recover from.

Ladder falls: A leading cause of death and injuries

Ladder falls are a leading cause of death and injuries in America. In fact, they're a leading cause of unintentional death around the world. Statistically, approximately 43 percent of all fatal falls over the last 10 years have been a result of ladder use.

Around 20 percent of all fall injuries occur because of ladder use in the workplace. Looking at emergency room statistics, you can see that around 81 percent of fall injuries are directly linked to ladder use.

Why are ladders so dangerous?

To begin with, they aren't always stable. Different ladders are designed to be used in various situations. Mismatching a ladder to the wrong situation makes it less stable and more likely to result in a fall.

Another issue is that ladders have the potential to cause falls because of slips or entanglement. Some ladders have chains or ropes that hold certain parts in place, potentially causing entanglement that could lead to a fall. Others have rungs or steps that are too slick, making it far too easy for a person to step and slide off the rung.

How can you stay safer when using a ladder?

To begin with, everyone who is expected to use ladders needs to go through a ladder safety course. Become educated on the types of ladders in your workplace and how to use each. Know how to lock them into position and how to assemble and disassemble them correctly. Be aware of the dangers of each type of ladder.

Another thing to do is to work in a buddy system. For a ladder leaning against a wall, it's vital that a second person is there to help secure the ladder in place. Even gently holding the ladder helps prevent falls by limiting its movement overall.

These are a few things to know about ladder safety in the workplace. Ladder use doesn't have to result in falls. Take the time to get to know the ladder you're using, so you are as prepared as possible to stay safe.

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Marzzacco Niven & Associates

Marzzacco Niven & Associates
1909 North Front Street, 2nd Floor, Suite 1
Harrisburg, PA 17102

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