In the construction industry and many related fields, ladder falls are one of the biggest risks that workers face. Even a worker who is just a few steps up a ladder could fall and suffer serious injuries. Any fall from a height, even when it's under eight feet, is dangerous. Don't underestimate this risk.
Of course, there are things you can do to use a ladder safely. Check to make sure it's the right size for the job. Anchor it on one or both ends, and/or have someone hold it while you climb. Never stand on the top of the ladder. Be sure that the place where you set it up is flat and stable.
Even when you do this, though, falls happen. Maybe you got a defective ladder. Maybe the ladder was wet. Maybe you just slipped. It doesn't matter how it happens; when you fall, you could suffer life-altering injuries.
Picking an alternative
One way to increase on-the-job safety is to carefully consider when you actually need a ladder and when you do not. Using one when it is not the right tool for the job just puts you at greater risk. Before starting that job, ask yourself these four questions:
- Do you have to use a ladder that is so long that stability becomes compromised?
- Do you have to carry tools and other heavy items up the ladder?
- Do you need to stand sideways in order to complete the job, rather than facing the ladder the entire time?
- Do you need to say on the ladder for a long time to get the job done?
If so, you may have a better option.
For instance, perhaps you have to stand sideways and stay on the ladder for an extended period of time. It's not that high off of the ground, and you'll just be using simple tools that you can carry on your belt.
Well, you may have more success with a scaffold system. It does take more time to set up, but it does not take that long at short distances. Once you get it set up, you can stand and turn on it to face any direction you need, without becoming less safe.
This is just one example, but it shows how you need to think through the job carefully, rather than using the first tool you have on hand to try to get the job done.
After an injury
This advice may help you avoid some incidents, but injuries still happen any time you work at heights. Make sure you know what rights you have to compensation in the wake of such an injury in Colorado.