Ladder accidents can occur in any industry that uses ladders often, like retail and warehouse work, but they are especially common in construction work. To keep the job site safe and free of ladder accidents, it’s important for anyone who works in construction to know how to prevent these types of accidents. Our team from Keith Silverstein & Associates is continuing our blog series about preventing accidents on construction sites. In this entry, we’ll be focusing on how to prevent ladder accidents.
Tips to Prevent Ladder Accidents in Construction
Do you work around ladders often on a construction site, such as to reach high areas or ascend to unfinished floors? You should know that your employer has an obligation to keep the workplace safe, but so do you and your co-workers. When everyone prioritizes workplace safety, the risk of a ladder accident goes down, so it’s important to keep ladder safety tips in mind.
Important ladder safety tips to prevent ladder accidents include:
- 3-points of contact: You should always maintain three points of contact when using a ladder, such as two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. If you can’t maintain three points of contact when ascending or descending, don’t. Look for a different, safer way to complete the task, such as first lowering or hoisting equipment separately.
- Read the manual: Not all ladders are designed the same. If you haven’t used a specific type or brand of ladder before, ask to see the safety manual or review the safety instructions that might be printed on it. A quick review can tell you if there are locking mechanisms that stabilize the ladder, or how much weight you can safely place on the ladder.
- Stay centered: When ascending or descending a ladder, stay near its center so the center of gravity remains stable and predictable. You should also always face the ladder when going up or down; facing away from a ladder greatly increases your risk of stumbling and falling off.
- Choose level ground: The surface under your ladder must be flat and stable. Do not use a ladder that is placed on uneven, sloped, or slippery ground. Doing so will dramatically increase the risk of a ladder accident.
- Stay off the top step: Of course, with nearly every type of ladder make and design, you should not stand on the top step. Check the instructions to see if you can place items on the top step, too, because many ladders do not recommend this functionality, either.
- Use barricades: If you are using a ladder in an area busy with other workers or passersby, set up barricades around your workspace. Barriers are an effective way to catch people’s attention and keep them well away from a ladder in use, so they don’t accidentally bump into it.
- Be mindful of electrical sources: Use a ladder carefully when near an electrical source. Never use a ladder that is too close to a power line. If you must use a ladder near an electrical source or electrical equipment, do not use a metal ladder, which can strongly conduct electricity.
After a Workplace Ladder Accident
If you're involved in a ladder accident while working on a construction site, seek immediate medical attention. Even if your injuries appear minor, it's important to get a thorough check-up as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Next, report the accident to your supervisor or employer. It's essential to make them aware of the situation from the beginning. If you are an independent contractor, report your injuries to a supervisor on the site or a property owner. Document the incident and circumstances leading up to it as accurately as possible, such as taking photographs of the scene, the ladder, and any visible injuries. Also, collect contact information from any witnesses who were present during the accident.
Finally, consider seeking legal counsel. Whether you are covered by workers' compensation or need to file a personal injury claim, a lawyer who handles construction accident cases can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of claiming compensation. You might be surprised to find that many construction workers in NYC aren’t covered by workers’ compensation, so your option to get compensation could be limited to an injury claim or lawsuit.
Get Our Counsel Today – Call Now
Keith Silverstein & Associates provides robust legal support for New Yorkers who have suffered injuries from ladder accidents on construction sites. With an in-depth understanding of New York's labor laws and personal injury claim processes, we are well-equipped to guide you through the intricacies of filing claims. We pride ourselves on our client-first approach, which includes offering free initial consultations, so you can understand more about your legal options before deciding to start a claim.
If you’d like to know more about your options and our services, dial (646) 813-3922 at any time. Thank you.