Try These Tips to Prevent Ladder Injuries at Work
Mississippi Work Injury Lawyers Promote Ladder Safety Month
One of the most common construction site and work zone tools is a ladder. They're also among the riskiest equipment workers handle.
In fact, falls and other ladder-related accidents make OSHA's top 10 "most frequently cited standards" list year after year. Mississippi has experienced several deaths involving ladders over the last five years or so. The two most recent incidents were the result of construction accidents.
The ladder has been around for at least 10,000 years, but the threat of slipping off rungs, or having the ladder bumped or footing slide is still present.
That's why March is Ladder Safety Month. Advocates hope that by raising awareness of best practices and standards, workers will be less at risk for serious injury or fatal ladder accidents.
Fatal Mississippi ladder accidents
There are many reasons someone may fall off or become injured by a ladder, according to the American Ladder Institute. Factors typically include haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, the condition of the ladder (worn out or damaged), the user's age or physical condition, and/or the user's footwear.
In Mississippi, private business worksite ladder standards are overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Whenever a serious work accident causing injury or death is reported, OSHA investigates.
Recent fatal Mississippi ladder accidents happened in 2018 and 2019, according to inspector reports.
In one instance, an electrician died while installing a light fixture in Columbia. He was standing on a ladder and stripping wires when he received an electric shock and fell six feet to the ground.
One year prior, in 2018, a metal worker died in Utica while installing a waveguide ladder on a cellphone tower. According to OSHA, the man did not ensure an adequate number of friction clamps were installed before releasing the ladder from the crane. He fell 280 feet with the ladder still attached.
Ladder safety tips
To help prevent and reduce the risk of ladder accidents, OSHA and the American Ladder Institute are sharing the best safety standards for selecting, using, and maintaining ladders. Here are some of their top tips:
- If you are feeling dizzy or are prone to losing your balance - stay off of ladders.
- Do not use ladders in high winds or storms.
- Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Do not wear shoes with leather soles to climb ladders; they are likely to slip on the rungs.
- Inspect your ladder before each use to make sure it is in good working order. Do not use a ladder if it feels loose, it's missing parts, sways, or leans to one side.
- Make sure you choose the right style and size ladder for the job. The "duty rating" on a ladder must be greater than the total weight of the climber, tools, supplies, and any other objects that will be put on the ladder. Ladders should be tall enough so that workers do not have to stand on the top rung or step.
- Always set up ladders on firm, stable ground with no risk for slipping and never attempt to move a ladder while standing on it.
- Unless a ladder is specifically designed for it, no more than one person should be on a ladder at a time.
- Do not place a ladder in front of a closed door that can open toward the ladder. If this cannot be avoided, the door should be blocked, locked, and/or guarded from opening.
- Use towlines, a tool belt, or an assistant to move materials so that the climbers' hands are free when going up or down.
- Maintain two feet and one hand, or two hands on one foot, on the ladder at all times while going up or down. This is sometimes known as the "three points of contact" rule.
Workers' comp benefits for ladder injuries
When Mississippi workers are seriously injured on the job, they have the right to apply for workers' compensation benefits. Just because this help is available, though, doesn't mean benefits are easy to get. Some injured workers can also take action against a negligent third party, such as a subcontractor, to recover money for losses not covered by workers' compensation. A good lawyer can figure out how to get you the most for your injuries by identifying all potential sources of compensation. That's why it's critical that you know and understand all your legal options.
For years, injured Mississippi workers have turned to Tabor Law Firm, P.A. to help them get the compensation they deserve. If you were injured or a loved one died in a Mississippi work accident, contact us today for a free consultation. Serving clients statewide, we have offices in Jackson and Ridgeland.