06 Apr A Guide to Ladder Safety in the Workplace
Every single year, there are countless incidents where incorrect ladder use leads to someone suffering a serious injury. There are plenty of situations where this can happen, even in your own backyard, but workers in construction, retail, and building maintenance are most commonly injured. If you use a ladder, there is a risk of something going wrong. And that’s why doing your research on basic ladder safety is crucial to protecting yourself and your workplace peers.
This blog outlines the importance of ladder safety and why precautions in the workplace are essential. Continue reading to learn some of the essential advice for ladder safety, and if you’re looking to enquire further about the safety systems in your workplace contact AHSS today.
Why Ladder Safety Matters
Ladders are one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment you can find. Plenty of people have one sitting in their garage or shed, ready to pull out for any job that needs to be done around the house. Yet, despite how many people will use a ladder every day at work or at home, there are significant risks involved. If used improperly, it is very easy to find yourself in the emergency room from a ladder fall. Unsafe use or using a ladder in improper condition can pose a massive risk to your health.
In 2017-2018, over 5600 Australians were admitted to hospital with injuries associated with ladder falls. This number is significantly higher than previous years, with numbers more than doubling from the year before. With injuries on the rise over the last decade, it’s more important than ever to know that you’re using your ladder correctly, or else you could find yourself facing serious consequences.
Injuries from Ladder Falls
The injuries you can receive from a ladder fall shouldn’t be taken lightly. Depending on the height you’re working at, taking a fall can lead to long-term damage to your health and potentially lengthy hospital stays. Recoveries from these injuries can be difficult, and some people may not ever return to normal. Particularly when damage is done to the spine or brain, there is serious risk that daily activities (such as walking, lifting, and general mobility) could become significantly more difficult, or altogether impossible.
Some of the most common injuries caused by falls from ladders include:
- Head injuries, including concussions.
- Brain injuries.
- Bone fractures, including in the shoulder, wrist, and hip.
- Spinal injuries.
- Rib injuries.
When using a ladder, there are several extremely simple steps you can take to significantly minimise the risk of falling. Using a ladder properly is absolutely vital, and relatively easy to achieve. Firstly, it’s important to ensure you place the ladder on dry, level ground, and you should always double-check that it’s locked firmly into place before use. Always stick to the centre of the ladder as you climb, and always work within arm’s reach. Never lean far from your ladder. It may take a few extra seconds, but it’s always safer to get back down and adjust the position. These are the basics of ladder safety – a firm foundation, two hands when climbing, and being extra careful when reaching for things that may cause you to lose your balance.
More Quick Tips
Here are a few extra pieces of advice from your local height safety experts:
- There are specific ladders for specific jobs, and you need to check your ladder meets Australian standards and the load requirements of the task at hand.
- A-frames and extension ladders are sometimes appropriate for different jobs, but platform ladders are safer.
- If there is no flat, firm surface available to set up your ladder, then safety devices such as leg levellers and stabilisers can be used.
- Always maintain three points of contact: either two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. Only carry small items that allow you to keep those three contact points at all times.
- When using an extension ladder, secure from the top, bottom, or both.
- Do not climb past the second highest rung on a ladder, and never straddle an A-frame ladder.
Contact AHSS to Get Your Ladder Safety Questions Answered
No matter where you’re using a ladder, safety is essential. This is of extra importance in the workplace, where ensuring the safe use of your equipment is a matter of protecting all workers on sight. If you’re looking to enquire about what ladder you need to meet workplace restrictions, or if you’re looking to learn more about ladder safety and guidelines in Australia, Australian Height Safety Systems is ready to lend a hand. Contact us today to chat with a friendly team member and get your ladder safety questions answered.