When using a stepladder, there might be a tiny corner of the unpainted ceiling that you’re reaching for, and it’s tempting to put your foot on the very last step. However, the words “This is not a step” are there for a reason.
Not only does common sense tell you it’s unwise to use the last step of a stepladder, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules and regulations prohibit it.
If you fell off a stepladder and hurt yourself while climbing too high, you’ve learned this lesson well. However, did you know that many American workers have died as a result of stepladder accidents? You may be lucky you survived.
OSHA regulations on ladder use
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created extensive rules and regulations that apply to ladders and how they’re used on the job. Every North Carolina worker is well-served to read OSHA’s complete ladder usage rulebook.
Here are just a few ladder guidelines from OSHA:
- If surfaces are slippery, ladders cannot be used unless they are secured to the ground and/or have slip-resistant feet. Depending on the situation, slippery surfaces might include concrete surfaces, flat metal surfaces, polished surfaces, tile, wood floors and more.
- Workers must keep the area where a ladder is being used clear of obstacles and debris.
- Employees cannot move, extend or shift a ladder while it is occupied.
- Users cannot use the last step nor the tops of stepladders as steps.
- Workers may only use the steps of a stepladder ladder for climbing. The back sections of stepladders and their cross-bracings cannot be used as steps.
- A competent person must periodically inspect ladders for any sign of defect, wear or damage that would make the ladder unsafe.
- Users must always face the ladder while climbing and descending.
- Employees must use at least one hand to hold the ladder when ascending and descending.
Did you get hurt while using a ladder on the job?
It’s tempting to use a ladder unsafely, sometimes employers do not provide the safest equipment to their workers, and sometimes, there’s no way to prevent an accident and injuries. They just happen.
No matter how you were hurt at a construction site and no matter whose fault it was, if your injury happened while you were working, you’re probably covered by workers’ compensation insurance. As such, an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you seek financial benefits to pay for your medical care and time spent unable to work.