As construction accident attorneys, the lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy frequently confront cases involving ladder Falls. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction and ladders make up a significant percentage of those fatal accidents. Ladder Falls are often preventable. Preventing ladder falls can save lives. Below is a brief list of things that all construction workers should know.
It is no secret that ladders are used to access an elevated work area. Sometimes a ladder is used when a different safety device would be more appropriate. The mistaken use of a ladder at a construction site leads to a great deal of unnecessary accidents. A worker should always question whether a ladder is the right safety device given the work that he or she is being asked to perform.
- Does the work I’m being asked to perform require me to hold heavy materials while standing on or going up and down the ladder?
- Can I be safely position on the ladder and still accomplish the work?
- Will the work required me to be on the ladder for extended period of time?
- How stable will the ladder be given the height that I will be working at?
If the construction worker asks him or herself these questions and the answers caused them pause than may be a ladder is not the right safety device to accomplish the work. Other equipment may be appropriate to accomplish the work like a scaffold or a scissor lift. Below are some tips to make the use of ladders at construction sites safer.
- The height of the ladder is important to pay attention to. A ladder should be high enough to allow a person to safely access the work area without standing on the top wrong of the ladder.
- A ladder should be secured. It is a good idea to have a spotter holding the base of the ladder while someone is standing on it.
- All workers should wear safe footwear while working on ladders. Shoes that are prone to slippage can lead to dangerous accidents.
- Ladder should be fully opened and placed on a level surface. Working on a ladder that is sitting on uneven ground is a recipe for disaster.
- Follow the “3 points of contact” rule. This means a combination of one hand and 2 feet or to hands and 1 foot should be in contact with the ladder when climbing it.
- Workers should avoid carrying tools or materials up-and-down a ladder.
- Pedestrian traffic around people working on ladders should be minimized.
- Ladder should be inspected prior to use each and every day.
Construction site falls happen every day throughout the country. The amounts of falls can be significantly curtailed if basic, common sense safety rules are followed. The responsibility for safety rests squarely on the shoulders of developers, property owners and general contractors who have the ability to dictate how work is being performed at a construction site. If these entities mandate that safety is a priority and that jobs should be carefully and safely planned construction site falls will dwindle.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a ladder fall then you should consider consulting with the experienced construction accident attorney. The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have a track record of success helping injured workers. The firm has recovered nearly $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for their clients. If you would like a free consultation with these committed attorneys you may call them at 212-736-5300.
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