Falls are a huge problem in the construction industry, even with modern safety regulations. Many of these falls, predictably, involve ladders.
Medical professionals point out that the accidents are preventable. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons even put out a list of steps that employers can take in conjunction with the Prevent Injuries Campaign. They are:
- Doing more work on the ground. The maximum possible amount should be carried out before workers need to climb ladders.
- Using alternative devices that may be safer. For instance, a company may use an aerial lift or a supported scaffold.
- Inspecting all ladders thoroughly before providing them to employees.
- Ensuring that all ladders actually match up well with the job. This should take into account the specific task and the weight of the employee and/or tools and materials.
- Giving employees proper training on ladders and providing them with safety information.
- Investing in proper accessories to make ladder use safer, such as fall protection gear.
Some of these steps may seem obvious to you as an employee. Of course, you should get a ladder that has been inspected and you should be trained on how to use it. The reality, though, is that employers often gloss over steps because they don’t want to invest the time. They want the job done as quickly as possible.
This corporate culture can lead to serious accidents, injuries and fatalities. If you’re hurt on the job, you need to make sure that you know all of your legal rights. These ladder fall incidents happen quite often and can have serious medical and financial ramifications.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Occupational Ladder Fall Injuries — United States, 2011,” Christina M. Socias, accessed Nov. 23, 2017