When setting a ladder, there's nothing more important than finding a firm foundation. If you neglect to do this, you greatly increase the risk of an accident.
Here are four tips you can follow to ensure that you safely set your ladder:
- Avoid soft surfaces: If you place a ladder on a soft surface, there's a greater chance it will shift once you put your weight on it.
- Don't lean your ladder: Rather than lean your ladder against a structure, such as a building, use all four legs. If the ladder is meant to lean, be sure the structure is secure and stable.
- Don't place a ladder on another object: For example, you may get the idea to place a step ladder on a box to increase its height. It sounds harmless enough, but it can compromise your balance.
- Watch for slopes: When working outdoors, it's not always easy to find a flat spot to place your ladder. You must watch for slopes, as the higher you go on the ladder the greater chance there is that it will tip.
Even if you place a ladder on a firm foundation, there's still a chance you could be part of an accident. For example, another worker could bump into the ladder while you're climbing, causing you to fall to the ground below.
If you're injured in a ladder accident, call for immediate medical assistance. Also, as time allows, report the accident and your injuries to your employer. Sharing this information early on makes it easier to receive workers' compensation benefits in the future.