A ladder is an invaluable tool that allows workers to reach elevated heights. They are used in a wide range of industries, some of which include manufacturing, construction, aerospace, maritime and landscaping. If your job requires you to use a ladder, though, you should take precautions to protect yourself from injury. While ladders are simple and easy to use, they can lead to an injury when used incorrectly.
The Rise of Ladder Injuries
Ladder injuries are, unfortunately, relatively common. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in five fall injuries involve a ladder. In the construction industry, rates of ladder injuries are even higher.
Most ladder injuries involve a fall. When you are working from a ladder, there's an inherent risk that you'll lose balance and fall. Depending on the height, a fall such as this may cause a minor injury, or it can cause a severe injury.
Maintain 3 Points of Contact
You can lower your risk of injury when using a ladder by maintaining at least three points of contact at all times. What does this mean exactly? Basically, you want to keep two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times.
Lock in Place
Prior to climbing up a ladder, lock it place. Most ladders are designed with a locking mechanism to prevent them from folding. If a ladder isn't locked, it may fold as you climb, which will almost certainly cause you to lose your balance. Therefore, you should lock the ladder in place before climbing it.
Place on Flat and Level Ground
Another safety tip to follow when using a ladder is to place it on flat and level ground. Ladders can be used indoors as well as outdoors. Regardless of where you intend to use it, though, you should place the ladder on flat and level ground. If it's placed on a sloped area, it may shift your center of gravity while increasing your risk of a fall-related injury in the process.
Wear Non-Slip Footwear
It's a good idea to wear non-slip footwear when using a ladder. With non-slip footwear, you'll have an easier time maintaining your footing on the ladder's steps. Non-slip footwear contains tread on the bottom of the soles that, as the name suggests, prevents them from slipping.