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Staying safe while using a ladder

Ladders are one of the main tools of the trade in many professions. Painters use them to reach higher areas on a wall, electricians use them to install light fixtures, warehouse workers use them to reach items stored on high shelves and roofers use them to initially access the roof. These are just a handful of examples.

No matter why you're using a ladder, every time you set your foot on the rung, you're increasing the chances of a workplace injury. Falls are incredibly dangerous. Each step you move higher than the ground level, the greater the odds of serious injury. You must be properly trained in how to use the ladder safely on the job, and here are a few helpful tips:

  • Pay attention to your body. Never climb while tired, dizzy or otherwise less than 100%.
  • Watch the weather. If it's windy, rainy or you otherwise are facing adverse weather, stay off of the ladder.
  • Carry out inspections. Do this every time you set up a new ladder. Never assume it is in good condition or that using it will be safe.
  • Always keep at least three points of contact with the ladder. Move up slowly and carefully, one point at a time.
  • Never lean or move your central balance point to the side of the ladder. You need to be perfectly in the middle.
  • Do not climb too high. If the ladder is too short and you need to stand on the very top, get a longer ladder.

Even these tips will not prevent all falls. Those who get hurt on the job need to know how to seek proper compensation.

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