One of the most essential tools to a construction worker is the ladder and the dangers associated with using one are numerous. Falls are the leading cause of injury and fatality for construction related incidents and over 80% of all falls involving construction workers in America involved use of a ladder. Most accidents involving a ladder are avoidable with proper planning.
Ladders are a good short terms solution to reaching working heights above however when the work needs to be completed over an extended time frame alternative elevated working surfaces should be explored. Areal lifts, scaffolds and climbing work platforms are all safer working surfaces for workers that need to perform jobs above over longer stretches of time. Unfortunately, these “safer” alternatives cost more money and therefore not as common as the ladder for workers. Therefore, it is critical that all ladders are thoughtfully selected for the job assigned to the worker and that each ladder is carefully inspected each day to ensure that it’s in proper working condition.
Too often a ladder that is past its prime is left in circulation for the workers because replacing it means more money spent. Old and faulty ladders collapse. Further, outside of the condition of the ladder, often the ladder is improperly positioned for the intended task so supervision of ladder positioning by the entities or people responsible for supervising the job becomes critical to job safety.
As to ladder selection, different tasks require different ladders and knowing whether a fixed or portable ladder is required is really important. Ladders like A frame ladders versus straight or extension ladders could be appropriate depending on the task the worker is assigned. If the worker doesn’t have the proper ladder for the task and is forced to select a ladder that doesn’t meet the requirements for the job than he or she is being exposed to a hazard that is unfair. Most construction workers when asked will tell you that too often they are not provided the proper equipment for the job assigned which exposes them to unsafe working conditions.
Ladders not only have a height, but also have a maximum working height which is a different issue. Therefore it’s very important to inspect and read the ladder’s rating sticker. This will tell you the highest recommended standing level and also tell you the maximum weight the ladder can accommodate. Type 1, 1A and 1AA ladders are always preferred because they can accommodate greater weight. As to ladder positioning, flat surfaces should always be selected and careful consideration of foot traffic in the area of the ladder as well as doorways and power lines.
OSHA has many more rules and regulations concerning ladders and all too often the ladders used on a job expose workers to unsafe conditions. Our lawyers have a ton of experience in dealing with falls from ladders and how the usage or placement or selection of different ladders for different jobs might be a violation of OSHA and hence a basis for recovery following a fall. Do not delay in calling our law firm and talking with one of our lawyers regarding your accident – the call and the advice is free! Call us today at (312) 422-0500 and let’s get your questions answered and your cause heading in the right direction quickly.