Construction Sites and Ladder Injuries – Most are Preventable

Date: May 9, 2014

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that more than 560,000 people are treated for ladder injuries in the U.S. every year. If the proper work conditions, safety instructions, and equipment were provided, countless numbers of these injuries could have been prevented.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has requirements in place that are designed to protect employees from injury. If an employee becomes injured at work and his/her employer has workers’ compensation (WC) insurance, he may be covered under this policy. If an employer does not have WC insurance, or is not required by Pennsylvania law to carry WC insurance, an injured employee may be able to file a personal injury claim. If an employer has disregarded OSHA regulations, which inadvertently led to the injuries the employee sustained, he/she may have grounds for a personal injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine whether the employee has a case.

OSHA Rules Regarding Safe Ladder Use

Below are some of the rules regarding the safe use of a ladder:

  • Every ladder is to be inspected prior to each use
  • Ladders are to be carried parallel to the ground
  • Ladders must be free of grease, oil and other hazardous materials
  • The ladder is never to be loaded beyond its maximum intended load
  • Ladders are to be securely tied down during transport
  • The area surrounding the bottom and at the top of the ladder must be clear
  • Never stand on the cross bracing
  • Lock, barricade, or guard the doorways near an area where a ladder is placed
  • Never move a ladder by “walking” it
  • Tools should be carried in pouches around the waist
  • Toolboxes or larger items must be lowered and raised using a rope
  • Ladders with structural defects must be properly tagged with a “Do Not Use” sign and withdrawn from service
  • Barricade traffic areas near the ladder
  • Non-conductive side rails are to be used around live electrical equipment
  • Never use the ladder’s top step to stand or step
  • Avoid shifting, moving, or extending a ladder while in use
  • Three points of contact when using a ladder is mandatory – one foot/two hands or two feet/one hand
  • Face the ladder when climbing up or down
  • Wear shoes with rubber soles and protective clothing
  • Only one worker on each ladder at a time
  • The belt buckle area of the body should always be positioned between the ladder’s side rails so as to maintain center of gravity
  • The ladder must only be used for the purpose it is intended, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and labeling

If you have been a victim of a ladder accident or suffered any other type of occupational or third-party injury, you may need to seek legal assistance from an experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney can review your case and inform you of your rights.

Cal Leventhal
Cal is a graduate of the University of Miami (magna Cum Laude) and attended Loyola and Notre Dame law schools graduating in 1976. He is admitted to the Bars of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and both state and federal trial and appellate courts situated in Pennsylvania.