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Ladder Accidents in Construction: Causes and Prevention Strategies

New York construction accident lawyers explain what you should know.

Construction sites are dangerous places for workers, with a variety of hazards. Falls from height are one of the most severe hazards, including falls from ladders. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and falls from ladders account for almost a third of those fatal accidents.

NYC worker standing near ladder

In recognition of the importance of ladder safety, March has been designated as National Ladder Safety Month. It’s important for workers to understand the risks associated with ladder use and prevention strategies to avoid a potentially fatal fall.

Causes of ladder accidents

Ladder accidents can happen in many ways at work, but the leading causes of ladder accidents include the following:

  • Improper ladder selection: Selecting the wrong type of ladder for the job or using a damaged or defective ladder can increase the risk of accidents. A defective ladder could have broken rungs, loose or missing bolts, or damaged rails.
  • Failure to secure a ladder: Placing the ladder on an unstable surface can cause it to shift and tip over. Examples include placing a ladder on an uneven surface or at the wrong angle.
  • Overloading: Ladders and scaffolds have weight load limits designed to ensure safe use. Exceeding these weight limits can cause the equipment to collapse or become unstable, resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities.
  • Lack of safety equipment: Workers should only use ladders with other safety equipment as appropriate. Harnesses and guardrails can protect employees at heights on a ladder or scaffold. In addition, protective headgear, gloves, and footwear can reduce the risk of injury in the event of a fall.
  • Inadequate training: Lack of proper training on ladder safety can lead to accidents, as workers may not know how to set up and use ladders properly. This includes both employees and supervisors.

Ladder safety tips

Wearing the proper footwear is critical. For example, the right shoes can improve grip and stability to ensure you won’t slip off a ladder. Proper footwear can also prevent injuries such as sprains and strains if an accident occurs.

Follow the three-point rule. Workers should always face the ladder and maintain three points of contact. So, either two hands and one foot or both feet and one hand should always be on the ladder.

Pick the right ladder for the job. Different ladders have specific weight limits and heights and are useful in different situations. Employers need to ensure workers use the right ladder for each job.

Inspect your ladder and surroundings. Look around for hazards like doorways and traffic, and make sure you are placing your ladder on a level surface. Ladders should be checked before every use to spot potentially fatal defects.

Legal help is available after your ladder accident

Workers involved in ladder accidents can suffer bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other serious work injures.

At Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, we know how an on-the-job injury can affect your life. That’s why we take pride in helping injured construction workers in New York obtain the compensation they need for a full recovery.

To learn more about how we can help you, contact our law firm today.

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