Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Stepladder safety tips for Virginia employees

From hanging decorations for office celebrations to making repairs or reaching for overhead inventory, stepladders are used for a variety of purposes in many workplaces. While they are easy to use, they are not completely risk-free, however.

When selecting a stepladder for use at the workplace, it should have the sufficient load rating so that it can support the weight of those who use it, as well as the weight of any objects an employee might use while on the ladder. Workplace ladders should also be about three feet shorter than the maximum height of reach, which ensures that its base will be stable and sufficiently wide.

Stepladders that have defective parts or braces, loose rivets, corrosion or cracks should not be used. The stepladder should be clean as well and free from any slippery substances, such as grease or oil before it is used.

When setting up a stepladder, its shelf and spreaders should be fully extended and its braces locked. Stepladders are best used when their feet are set on surfaces that are firm, stable, dry and even. As the stepladder is used, it should be placed near the area where the work will be done to prevent the employee from overreaching and falling. It is also not safe for employees to climb too high on a stepladder. Sometimes, employees will try to move a stepladder while they are standing on it, but this can result in serious injuries. Employees should also refrain from sitting, standing or climbing on the top of stepladders.

Workers' compensation assists employees who become injured on the job, such as if they slip and fall while using a ladder. Employees who believe they have not received the benefits to which they are entitled might want to obtain legal advice about their situation.

Source: Safety and Health, "Stepladder safety at work", April 3, 2017

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