In Homestead and across South Florida, fall injuries lead to fractures, cuts, head injuries, fatalities, bruises, and other injuries each year. Whether in the home or in the workplace, ladder safety is essential. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that there were more than 630,000 injuries involving ladders across the country in 2015 alone, and in many cases these injuries can be prevented with a few simple tips:
- Consider ladder placement and your own fitness before you use a ladder. Make sure your ladder will be on solid, flat ground and that you are wearing flat, sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing. Never get on a ladder if you are feeling unwell or unsteady for any reason. Make sure the ladder will be placed far from any obstructions, such as trees or electrical wires. Never climb a ladder outside in bad weather, including rains or high winds.
- Choose the right ladder for the job. On a single ladder or extension ladder, you should be able to reach easily from the third rung from the top. On a step ladder, you should go no further than two steps from the top. If you can’t quite reach or if you need to twist or stretch to get to your target, choose a different ladder or ask for help.
- Check the ladder before you climb. Ladders generally have a safety tag and information about the “working load” or maximum weight. Make sure you are using the ladder as directed and are not over the safe weight limit. Also, check the ladder for any unsafe wear and tear. Any areas that are bent, broken, or damaged are dangerous and mean the ladder needs repairs or replacement first.
- Get the ladder ready. Check for any loose rungs, screws, or hinges and get these fixed first. Wipe down and clean the ladder is there are any liquids or debris which may affect your grip of the rungs. If the ladder is not quite ready, do not conduct “temporary” repairs unless you are qualified and trained at fixing ladders. Temporary fixes can cause the ladder to break or wobble when you’re at a height, which can put you at risk of falling.
- Set up the ladder correctly. Use the instructions on the side of the ladder or as a general rule of thumb make sure the ladder is one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height. Make sure the ladder is open correctly and any braces, spreaders, or other devices are correctly in place and locked.
- Climb correctly. Climb in the center of the rails, facing the ladder. Grip the rails with both hands securely and have someone with you to steady the ladder and to pass you any tools you need. Do not lean out on the ladder and never stand on any part of the ladder except the steps or rungs. Never exceed the maximum climbing level or allow more than one person on a ladder intended for one person.
If you fall from a ladder in your workplace, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation in Homestead or your community. If you are injured by a ladder and believe bad design or poor quality led to the injury, you may have a products liability claim. To find out more, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) to speak to a Homestead personal injury attorney. With offices in Homestead, Hollywood, and Miami, the legal team at Flaxman Law Group serves the entire South Florida area and your first consultation with us is always free of charge.