Ladders are used in various California industries, from construction sites and warehouses to office storerooms. Although ladders are used in everyday activities, they pose significant safety hazards. Improper use of ladders can cause severe workplace injuries, which could include traumatic brain injuries and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than eight in 10 work-related falls involve ladders.
Ladder inspections to identify damage and wear is crucial, and taking damaged ladders out of service can prevent falls. Once the condition of the ladder passes inspection, worksite hazards must be examined. Wind and rain are not safe conditions for work that involves ladder use because wet, unstable bases increase the risks for ladders collapsing or moving, which could cause workers to fall. Another significant hazard is overhead power lines, and relevant safety standards must be followed. When work involves electricity, it is always safer to avoid using metal ladders.
Workers who use ladders daily might become complacent, not realizing that the slightest distraction or shortcut can cause catastrophic falls. Employers must ensure that workers use proper climbing techniques whenever they use ladders. The 3-point contact rule — stating that the worker must always have two hands on the side rails and foot on the rung, or two feet on the ladder rungs and one hand on the side rail — can prevent falls. Carrying loads up and down ladders can interfere with grip and balance, increasing the risk of falls. Footwear that is slip-resistant and observing the rule of one person at a time can prevent falls.
Regardless of all the precautions taken, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Victims of workplace injuries will likely find comfort in knowing that the California workers’ compensation insurance program will cover their medical expenses and lost wages. Navigating benefits claims while recovering from injuries can be daunting, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance.