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5 ladder safety tips to help prevent construction site falls

Slip-and-fall accidents can occur anywhere. But falling on a construction site can be much more disastrous than falling on your bathroom floor. In fact, falls account for more than one-third of construction site fatalities.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a report of safety standards that were most frequently violated in the last year. Safety issues contributing to falls – with ladders in particular – were among the top construction site safety concerns discovered. Today we provide five ladder safety tips to help prevent falls at construction sites:

Train all workers in ladder safety.

Workers should know how to place ladders properly as well as how to look for – and avoid – potential safety hazards. They should understand different ladders’ weight limits – remembering to account for the weight of any tools they carry onto the ladder. Additionally, workers should know how to choose the appropriate ladder for the job.

Conduct quality control.

Inspect any ladder for defects or damage prior to using it. Mark any defective ladders and take them for repair. Ensure that no one on the crew uses the ladder until it is fixed.

Train workers on correct positioning.

When climbing or descending a ladder, workers should have at least three limbs in direct contact with the ladder at all times. When on the ladder, their weight should be centered and their feet should point forward. In addition, a ladder should always be positioned so that the worker can reach the desired area without stretching or balancing precariously.

Prohibit dangerous shortcuts.

Ensure that workers do not employ unsafe methods to work faster. For instance, the construction manager should ban behaviors such as climbing a ladder while carrying tools by hand or attempting to reposition a ladder without completely dismounting from it first.

Take precautions against electrocution.

If the construction job involves energized electrical equipment, the construction manager should ensure that all ladders are non-conductive.

Following the above guidelines can go a long way toward preventing unnecessary accidents on the job. When such standards are not in place, and an accident occurs, it may create a stronger case to hold the employer accountable.