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  • Writer's pictureIEP Urgent Care

Stay safe on ladders and know when to avoid them


a man standing on an extension ladder cleaning leaves out of his home's gutter

Now is the time when we all hop on ladders to scoop leaves from the gutters, paint the house before it gets too cold, or trim a tree or two. But before you get to work, consider hiring a professional for all these activities. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control, 81% of all emergency room visits are caused by falls, the majority of those from ladders.

If you do fall from a ladder and think you may have a sprain or something more serious, come see us right away at any IEP Urgent Care location. Every office has digital X-ray services on-site. Our team will assess your injury, provide direct treatment, or mobilize your injury and coordinate additional care. A visit to IEP Urgent Care, rather than a trip to a hospital emergency department, will save you quite a bit of money.

Since ladder falls happen at a higher elevation, they also tend to be more serious.

If you have balance issues, or just don't feel comfortable climbing, don't use a ladder! And never use a ladder alone: always have someone close nearby to act as a spotter.

But if you have a good quality ladder, good balance, have a spotter, and don't want to spend money to hire someone, stay safe and always follow these common sense ladder safety tips courtesy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

Check Before You Climb

Always check the ladder’s feet and the surface you place it on. It should be on a level and stable surface and should never be placed on an unstable base just to gain height. Make sure the ladder has something stable for it to rest against. Never lean a ladder against a window. After the ladder is set in a stable position, take a moment to examine the ladder itself. Check to ensure that it is in good condition and if using an extension ladder, check that the locks are all engaged properly. Examine the safety labels, Check that you are not exceeding the ladder’s maximum load rating, which could also lead to a scenario where you may need a different ladder for the task at hand. Make sure that your climb up the ladder will be smooth and steady. Wear the correct footwear to prevent slips.

Be mindful of electrical hazards


Never ignore nearby overhead powerlines when setting up your ladder. If you are working near overhead powerlines, avoid using a metal ladder or any energized electrical equipment which could put you at risk of electrocution.


Keep your feet, hands, and body in safe position

When climbing up or down, always face the ladder and stay upright. Leaning beyond the rails can cause instability and result in falling or other injuries. If you can’t reach what you need without leaning, then you need to adjust your ladders position. Never move or adjust a ladder while someone is on it. Wearing a toolbelt is a great way to ensure your hands stay free to climb each rung with both hands.

Always engage ladder safety best practices, either on the job or at home.

Even if you don’t frequently work at heights at work, you can still practice ladder safety for personal use at home. If you’re at home make sure you take your time in setting up your ladder, climb slowly and if possible, have another person nearby in case of emergency. Avoid Falls with the Right Gear

A worker at height is defined as a worker that is a minimum of 4 feet in elevation for general industrial situations, 5 feet in shipyards and 6 feet for construction environments. This means that if you are using anything other than a step ladder, you’re considered to be working from height. In this case, fall protection could be necessary to help mitigate fall risks.

Here's a link to a portable ladder safety quick reference guide:


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