Friday, April 22, 2011

Avoid Ladder Disasters: Minnesota Workers’ Comp.

According to OSHA, falls account for more than 16 percent of workplace injuries and almost 13 percent of all workplace deaths. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 532,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and clinics in 2007 after falling off a ladder. Unfortunately, injuries that occur as a result of a fall from a ladder are often severe.

The nature and extent of injuries that occur as a result of ladder falls depends on the distance of the fall, what parts of the body hit the ground first, the position of your body parts when you fall and land, and the type of surface you land on.

Ladder falls can result in serious injuries, including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, or herniated discs. Sometimes these injuries can be life-changing.

There are things you can do to prevent falls from ladders.

Always inspect a ladder before use. Make sure ladder rungs are in place, intact, free from slippery substances, and have slip resistant surfaces. Make sure support braces, bolts, and screws are in place and tight. Make sure metal parts are lubricated. Inspect rope and check for wear or fraying. Ensure that spreaders or locking devices are in place. Check for splinters or sharp edges. Check to ensure that safety feet are in place. Check for dents and bends in metal ladders.

Select the right ladder for the job. I-A (heavy duty) ladders can hold up to 300 pounds, including the worker and his or her equipment. I (heavy duty) ladders can hold up to 250 pounds including a worker and equipment. II (medium duty) ladders can hold 225 pounds, and III (light) ladders can only hold up to 200 pounds. In addition, a stepladder should be no more than 20 feet high, a one-section ladder should be no more than 30 feet high, and an extension ladder can go up to 60 feet, but the sections must overlap.

Set up ladders properly. Ladders should be placed on a level surface, and wide boards should be used beneath the ladder on soft ground. A ladder’s feet should be parallel with the surface the ladder is resting against. The ladder should be extended so there are at least three feet above the top support. The top of the ladder should be anchored, and the bottom should be tied or held. A ladder should not be rested on a window or window sash, and should not be placed in front of a door. The distance from the base of the ladder to the wall should be one-fourth of the ladder. Extension ladders should be positioned before being extended.

Be safe while working on ladders. One person on a ladder at a time. Wear shoes with non-skid soles. Face the ladder while climbing up or down, and hold the rails with both hands. Carry tools up or down on a belt or with a rope or hoist, not in your hands. Keep one hand on the ladder while you work. Don’t step on the top two stepladder steps or top four ladder rungs. Keep your body centered on the ladder. Don’t move a ladder while you’re on it. Move slowly and cautiously while working on the ladder.

For more great ladder safety tips, visit Safety Daily Advisor.

If you’ve sustained injuries as a result of an on-the-job fall from a ladder in Minnesota, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits include medical expenses, wage loss benefits, rehabilitation benefits, and permanent partial disability benefits.

For a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your Minnesota workers’ compensation rights, contact attorney Jen Yackley or Ron Meuser at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email.

Got questions about MN workers' comp? Visit our Minnesota Workers' Compensation FAQ!


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