Ladders are essential equipment on all construction sites in California, including in Irvine. The frequent use of ladders often causes construction workers to become complacent and disregard the dangers ladder use poses. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide adequate safety training and ensure the safety of employees.
The correct choice of a ladder is the first safety precaution. Ladders made of wood instead of aluminum must be selected for use in proximity of power lines to mitigate electrocution risks. Furthermore, choose a tall enough ladder instead of tying two together or placing the ladder on objects like boxes to gain extra height.
Inspect the ladder before using it
It is crucial to check the following aspects of ladders before using them or at the start of each work shift:
- Ensure the non-slip base of the ladder’s feet is not damaged.
- Check for loose rungs or steps.
- Check the tightness of the screws, bolts and other fasteners.
- Ensure the entire ladder is free of grease, oil or any other slippery substance.
- Check for bent edges, splits or cracks on all the parts of the ladder.
Damaged ladders must be taken out of service for repairs or replacement.
Safety precautions when using a ladder
The following safety precautions might be enough to avoid ladder-related falls or injuries:
- Never carry anything while climbing up or down a ladder — use a tool belt and a pulley system for materials.
- Always maintain the three-point contact rule when using a ladder.
- Reposition the ladder instead of leaning over to anything that is out of reach.
Filing a benefits claim
Most ladder-related injuries involve falls, often with devastating consequences — even if the worker fell from the third or fourth rung. Injured workers should inform their employers as soon as possible after receiving the necessary medical treatment. That could set the wheels rolling for filing a workers’ compensation claim within the allowed time limit.