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Tips for avoiding injury on a portable ladder

Portable ladders see use in many professions. They're very common with electricians, construction workers, roofers, drywall installers, cable installers and many others, but that doesn't mean they don't show up in office jobs and other settings. A janitor at a school or an office complex may use a portable ladder to change light bulbs, change air filters and clean hard-to-reach areas, for example.

It's important for all workers in all industries to know how to use these ladders safely. Falls are very common and can lead to serious injuries. Even a short portable ladder could cause a fatal fall. Here are some safety tips that can help:

  1. Before every use, take the time to inspect the ladder. This is especially true if you are not the only person that uses it.
  2. Always read the warning labels and instructions. They're usually printed right on the ladder itself. It only takes a few minutes to avoid a serious accident.
  3. If necessary, take the time to secure the bottom and/or the top of the ladder. For instance, you always want to use a level, firm surface to set up the ladder. If there's any question, secure it.
  4. Keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times. Never work with both hands or lean so far that you take a foot off.
  5. If someone else is on a ladder, never touch it except to stabilize it. If you need to move it, even an inch, have them come down, move the ladder and then climb back up again.

These tips can help promote workplace safety, but accidents happen. You need to know your rights to workers' compensation if you get injured.

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