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How can you stay safer while using a ladder?

Staying safe while at work doesn't have to be difficult. If you work with ladders, there are many safety techniques you can use to stay safe. Your employer should train everyone in the proper use of a ladder and have information on ladder safety in the workplace.

The U.S. Product Safety Commission reports that over 160,000 people go to the emergency room after a ladder accident each year. Falling from a ladder is potentially life-threatening, depending on the distance and how you land. Additionally, there are other risks, like touching a metal ladder to an electrical line, that could put your life at risk.

One easy way to help prevent falls is to set up the ladder correctly. All ladders have four points that need to be grounded. The feet should be resting evenly on the ground and placed on a dry surface. Safety locks should be engaged. For extension ladders, make sure the feet near the top extend at least three feet beyond the rooftop, so you have enough footholds to climb onto the roof safely.

Every time you use a ladder, you should inspect it for safety. Check that the structure is sound and that there are no cracks or broken rungs. Before you place the ladder, check for electrical lines or other obstacles that could make it wobble or become unbalanced. If there is a second coworker who can hold the base of the ladder when you ascend and descend, it can help stabilize the ladder and prevent injuries.

These are just a few ways to stay safer on ladders. If you're hurt at work because you were using a ladder, it's important to file a claim and get the medical care you need as soon as possible.

Source: Mother Earth News, "Avoid Ladder Accidents: How to Safely Choose, Use, Move and Maintain Your Ladders," Geoff Taylor, accessed Feb. 07, 2017

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