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Falls from ladders a workplace issue

Though few people likely spend much time thinking about it, some occupations throughout the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area require the use of ladders. Since falls from this type of equipment can have devastating results, it is best when employers did another way for workers to complete tasks without using a ladder. Because this is not always possible, employers should also disseminate ladder safety protocol to workers for whom it is relevant.

The first thing workers should keep in mind is that a ladder should be placed properly before using it. The top of the ladder should be extended three feet above where it makes contact with a landing. Slippery materials should be kept away from it.

Workers should also take care when ascending and descending a ladder. In addition to paying attention when taking the first step on the ladder, the person using it should always maintain 3-point contact while climbing, face the ladder and find ways other than carrying in one’s hands to get tools to the top.

There are real reasons why these guidelines should be followed. According to research recently completed by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in 2011, falls involving the use of ladders at work were to blame for 113 deaths. In addition, 34,000 work-related ladder falls resulted in trips to the emergency room. In 15,000 cases, workers were forced to miss at least one day of work due to their injuries.

In these instances it is possible that workers sought workers’ compensation benefits from employers. These benefits are designed to help cover expenses that arise while an employee is healing from a workplace accident.

Source: Safety.BLR.com, "Researchers reveal deadly facts about workplace ladders; Do's and don'ts for ladder safety," May 27, 2014

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