Most Common OSHA Violations: Ladder Safety

Ladder safety is a very important issue at worksites and workplaces. When people fall from ladders they can suffer very serious and even fatal injuries. OSHA investigates falls and ladder injuries and will sanction companies that violate OSHA regulations.


Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real. These are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.


Lately, we’ve been discussing worker safety a lot on Hill Law Firm Cases Podcast. Specifically, we’ve been talking about the most common violations and most common OSHA citations and what they relate to. We’ve handled a lot of worker safety cases, and a lot of cases involving on-the-job or work site injuries. One case type that we see consistently involves ladder safety. For whatever reason, either due to height or due to the operation, or for whatever reason, in my career I have seen, represented, and even sometimes told people that they didn’t have a case, cases involving and arising out of injuries and falls from ladders.

One particular case I looked at recently involved a man who was doing work at a beach house in preparation for a storm coming in. While he was working, putting up boards on the windows, the ladder fell out from under him. His injuries included two crushed heels, a broken leg, and a broken ankle. That’s one thing about ladder cases is every time I’ve seen a ladder injury, the people that have been injured have always suffered very serious, long-term complicated injuries. I’ve seen leg injuries. I’ve seen injuries to arms. We’ve represented a man who suffered a brain injury. At my previous firm, I worked on a case in which somebody was paralyzed as a result of a ladder fall.

All this to say that ladder safety is of utmost importance, whether it’s on-the-job site or in your home. The reason for that is that a fall from height, we know can cause debilitating serious injuries and even fatalities. We’ve been talking about OSHA violations and OSHA citations, and one of the commonly cited set of regulations that employers are cited for failing to follow revolves around ladder safety. OSHA has a set of standards and regulations and rules that employers and employees are supposed to follow when they’re on-the-job site. OSHA’s regulations for ladder safety are outlined for whether it be a step ladder to a type of ladder used in orchards. Very specific regulations about all types of ladder usage.

On top of that, for all of our listeners, OSHA puts out an OSHA quick card on portable ladder safety. Why this is important is because a lot of people use ladders at their homes, not only at their job sites, but at their homes, their businesses that they may own, or just in their day-to-day operation they’ll use ladders to accomplish whatever needs to be accomplished. Because of that, normal people who are not laborers or not people that work on ladders every day are often put in positions where they could fall and injure themselves severely as a result of using a ladder.

I recommend anybody that’s going to be using a ladder to review the OSHA quick card on portable ladder safety, because it outlines and details a lot of things that can be helpful for everybody. It goes through a few things, including read all the labels and markings and follow them to the extent that they’re on the ladder, and explain how you should use it. Another thing that people oftentimes forget is, be careful where your ladders going because if there’s an electrical line and you have an aluminum ladder, that could lead to an electrocution. You should always inspect your ladder and make sure there’s no damage to it.

Whether that damage be a locking mechanism that doesn’t work, a bent portion, a broken rung, or any other part of your ladder that doesn’t work or is broken, you should not use that ladder. You should always have three points of contact on the ladder when you’re climbing it. For example, two feet and one arm, or vice versa, two arms and one foot. You should make sure your ladder is not slippery, that it doesn’t have any oil or water on it to where you could slip. Then you need to make sure that your shoes have a lot of grip to them. You don’t want to move the ladder while you’re on it. Don’t try to shift it while you’re on it. Don’t lean far away from it while you’re using it.

Don’t exceed the maximum weight limit of the ladder. If there are locks on the ladder, make sure that they’re locked. You wanted to make sure that it’s placed on a even surface. If there is only one point of contact with the ladder, like a lean-to a ladder, you want to make sure that it is properly placed on the ground where it cannot slide or slip out from under. There’s a lot of great useful information on OSHA’s website regarding all type of workplace safety. If you’re using a ladder in your day-to-day life, at your home, at your job, or if you’re working with somebody who’s using a ladder, you should share this information with them.

Ladder safety is very important. Ladder safety is very important because falls from ladders at heights can lead to very serious debilitating or even fatal injuries. We’ll continue to outline worker safety on Hill Law Firm Cases. In the meantime, make sure to reference the OSHA safety card if you plan to use a ladder in your own day-to-day life.


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