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Ladder Injuries and Safety Precautions

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We’ve all heard the adage not to walk under the ladder because it’s 7 years of bad luck. Not only is walking under the ladder bad luck but merely using one can be just as dangerous to one’s health. Ladders, although they are necessary, are exceptionally dangerous things where all sorts of bad things can happen.There are two types of ladders. The a-frame type that is typically used in homes for painting the walls or hanging pictures and then the extension ladders that allow people (outdoors and indoors, depending on ceiling height) to get up very high on their home to fix something, paint something, or get to the roof.While ladders are very helpful, more than 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries in the United States on an annual basis, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Of the more than 500,000 people who are injured, 300 or so died each year from injuries that are related to a ladder.Home ladder injuries are awful but they pale in comparison to injuries in the workplace. Ladders used in the workplace are typically much taller and used to access much more dangerous things. Unfortunately, a very large percentage of all ladder injuries could be prevented if the proper working conditions, equipment, and safety instructions were given to every employee near a ladder.The best safety precautions to be taken with ladders aren’t just a good idea. These precautions and instructions are also OSHA requirements for workplaces. Some of the OSHA rules for ladder use are mundane while others are things that probably have a lot of individuals out there going “gee, why didn’t I think of that?” or “that’s a really good idea!” The first rule for safe ladder usage is to inspect the ladder prior to use every time it is going to be used. If the ladder is found to have a structural defect, don’t use it. Any ladder with a structural defect should also be tagged with a “DO NOT USE” sticker and taken away from the worksite.When moving ladders by hand within a location, they should be carried in a way that they are parallel to the ground and not stick straight up in the air. When moving them by car or truck, they should be tied securely. If they stick off the back of a truck, there should be a red flag or rag or something bright on the end of the ladder to warn other drivers. Keeping a ladder free of oil, grease, and other potentially slick hazards will also do wonders for keeping all employees or family members safe.For more information on the hazards of ladders and other objects, please visit http://www.wpalmerandassociates.com.

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