What are ladder hazards?
Falls from ladders are common to virtually all industries. Ladders can be at the root of incidents when:
they are not held, tied off, or otherwise secured
they are slippery and workers lose their footings on rungs or steps
workers do not hold on to the ladder properly when climbing
workers take unsafe positions (such as leaning out too far)
ladders are kept in service with defects
high winds cause them to topple
stabilizers are not used when appropriate
What the law says
The misuse of ladders can result in long-term musculoskeletal disorders, electrical contact, or falls from height. The consequences can range from minor mishaps to death.
Employers are required by Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers from hazards, including those hazards related to ladders. They must provide information and instruction and ensure that workers properly use the required equipment. Employers, supervisors and workers can be prosecuted for not complying with the law. The construction, industrial and mining regulations each contain detailed requirements for ladder safety.
How ladder hazards can affect your business
An injury, even a minor one, can cost your business a great deal. When you add up things like replacement staff, lost productivity and equipment damages, the cost can increase to four times the original cost of the injury claim according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. That’s much more than the cost of a new ladder or a ladder training course for your workers.
What can you do?
With appropriate care and maintenance, training and experience, workers can use ladders safely. Ontario’s health and safety associations have training and other resources available to help you control ladder hazards.