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Ladder accidents are more common than you think

Many people spend a good portion of their workday climbing up and down a ladder. This holds true of roofers, painters and construction workers, among many others.

It doesn't matter if you use a ladder regularly or every so often, there are safety tips you must follow. Doing so will help you avoid an accident and related injuries. Here are seven tips to guide you:

  • Inspect the ladder before taking the first step: A ladder can have defects or damage, making it dangerous to use. If you take notice of this, put the ladder to the side and mark it "out of service."
  • Find a level surface: You should only place a ladder on firm and stable ground, as this helps you keep your balance as you climb higher.
  • Don't place your ladder by heavy traffic: This includes both foot traffic and vehicle traffic, as anyone or anything that bumps your ladder can result in a fall to the ground below.
  • Maintain three points of contact: You want to have two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times. This helps you maintain your balance.
  • Choose the right size ladder: An example of something you want to avoid is choosing a ladder that is too short to reach your desired height. If you do this, you could find yourself standing on the top rung (which is a big no-no) or reaching.
  • Don't carry heavy loads: You should never carry a heavy load when climbing up or down a ladder, as a slight lean could pull you to the ground.
  • Be careful on the last step: When climbing down a ladder, it's easy to lose track of where you are. If you don't know when you're taking your last step to the ground, you could attempt to dismount too soon.

A ladder accident can result in many types of injuries, including but not limited to broken bones, traumatic brain injury, concussion and soft tissue damage.

If you're involved in a ladder accident at work, call for help, administer first aid and report the incident to your boss or HR department. You should also receive a professional diagnosis and treatment, as doing so is necessary if you plan to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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