If there is a serious fall injury on a construction site, it is very likely the result of an incident involving a ladder. Consider this troubling finding from one study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Of all construction worker fall injuries that required treatment at the emergency room, 81% involved a ladder.
Ladders themselves are all but unavoidable on construction sites. Contractors and property owners have a responsibility to ensure this equipment is safe for workers to use. If they drop the ball, where does that leave individual workers?
How to help protect yourself
As a construction worker, you aren’t in charge of overseeing and enforcing a site’s safety measures. You can, however, do a few things to help minimize your injury risk when you do have to use a ladder. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has some suggestions, including:
- Make sure you are using the correct type of ladder for the specific task.
- Have the ladder visually inspected for potential issues before use, such as damaged side rails, slick substances or defects hidden beneath stickers.
- If you find a defective ladder, clearly mark it as not safe for use.
- Be conscious of the weight load – that means your own weight, plus any tools you need.
- Don’t use a metallic ladder near open electrical components such as power lines.
Also, be mindful of the height at which you’re working. Most nonfatal injuries that required ER treatment involved a fall of 10 feet or less.
Following up on a ladder fall
A work injury can be devastating, especially if it requires time away from the job. This can have a long-term impact on your health, finances and overall well-being.
If you suffered an injury in a ladder fall, there are steps you can take to secure support. That includes potential compensation for medical care, lost wages and even pain or suffering.