Chopra & Nocerino, LLP

Safety tips to reconsider for Ladder Safety Month

The American Ladder Institute designated March as Ladder Safety Month as a way to raise safety awareness, reduce the number of OSHA violations and encourage inspections. Ladder-related accidents are to blame for more than 100 deaths and thousands of injuries every year. Employers in New York will want to know what they can do to reduce the risk for these incidents.

It all starts with choosing the right ladder. Most workers climb ladders with tools and other equipment, so employers must follow the right weight/load recommendations. Also, OSHA has a specific rule on how to position non-self-supporting ladders -- the horizontal distance between the top support and the ladder's bottom should be about one-fourth the ladder's working length.

The following are just a few more tips that employers will want to remember. A competent person should be in charge of inspecting ladders for missing or loose components. The top and bottom of ladders should be clear of debris. Hazards like overhead power lines should be taken into account before setting up ladders (keep them at least 10 feet away from power lines). A worker should keep their body inside the side rails and never carry tools when climbing. Furthermore, they must face the ladder when ascending up or down.

If an employee is injured in a ladder accident, workers' compensation could provide valuable benefits. So long as the employer has workers' comp insurance, a victim can file. These benefits usually cover medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages. Workers who are seriously injured may opt for a lump-sum settlement. However, it may be wise to ask a lawyer which is the better option.

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