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OSHA focuses on ladder safety

It is the responsibility of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to do what it can to make workplaces throughout the nation, including the state of Pennsylvania, safer. Accordingly, it creates standards and regulations for businesses to follow that are designed to keep employees from being injured while working. It also provides education and training to those businesses that need it. The failure to follow these standards can lead the business to have to pay fines. In the worst cases it can also result in injury inducing workplace accidents.

Because the dangers associated with various occupations vary so widely, there are many things the agency needs to address. Accordingly, from time to time it selects different work dangers to focus on. One of its recent focuses is on falling hazards related to using ladders. Ladders are commonly used in tree trimming and on construction sites. There are several safety tips regarding ladders the agency is currently promoting.

The length of the ladder is important. The ladder should be tall enough that it extends a minimum of three feet past the object on which it is propped.

The angle at which it is positioned should also be considered. The steepest it should be positioned at is a "1-to-4 angle". Translated, this means that the distance between the bottom of the ladder and whatever it is leaning against should be no less than a quarter the distance of the height.

There are other things that can be done as well to prevent ladder accidents. One is to simply look the ladder over before using it each time to make sure there are no obvious defects. Users also need to be aware of power lines and the risk of things like branches falling on the person on the ladder.

While these tips are undoubtedly helpful, even when followed accidents can occur. When someone is hurt while working on a ladder, that person may be able to obtain workers' compensation benefits.

Source: The News Gazette, "OSHA focusing on height-related hazards," Don Dodson, Oct. 19, 2012

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