From construction workers to retail workers, many workers climb up and down ladders countless times each day at work. It is a part of everyday work for many, but those trips up and down the ladder can carry more risks than workers might think.
Ladder-related injuries fall on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) list of the Top 10 most common safety violations.
The injuries resulting from a ladder fall can be devastating. That is why there was a movement throughout this past March to bring attention to and prevent these injuries.
March 2020 was dedicated to ladder safety
March was National Ladder Safety Month. The American Ladder Institute (ALI) created this campaign in 2017 with goals to:
- Decrease the number of ladder falls and injuries that workers suffer on the job;
- Increase safety training, inspections and overall safety in ladder use; and
- Remove ladder falls from OSHA’s Top 10 list of the most common violations.
The emphasis on ladder safety is critical for all workers. Falls can lead to dangerous fractures and head injuries which would be covered under workers’ compensation but could change the course of an individual’s life as well (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-501).
How can workers improve ladder safety?
National Ladder Safety Month may host specific events to promote ladder safety, but workers can take the lead and focus on practicing ladder safety now.
Workers can help to reduce their risk of falling off a ladder when they:
- Follow the instructions on the ladder;
- Take the time to make sure the ladder is on a level surface;
- Move the ladder wherever needed instead of leaning or reaching;
- Avoid carrying materials while climbing up or down; and
- Wear proper footwear while climbing.
Taking things slowly and truly focusing on one’s safety can help workers prevent serious injuries whenever they have to make the trip up or down a ladder.