While you do not mind working every day to support yourself and your family, you likely recognize how devastating a workplace injury can be. If you regularly work with ladders, you should realize that 150 workers died in ladder-related accidents in 2015. Another 20,000 individuals sustained some type of injury when working with a ladder.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes the importance of ladder safety. In fact, OSHA inspectors routinely cite employers for ladder-safety violations. While ladder accidents happen for a variety of reasons, there are some common causes, such as these four: 

  1. Failing to use an actual ladder 

If your job description requires you to climb onto a ladder, you should be sure you use one. Unfortunately, because ladders may be in storage rooms or other inconvenient locations, you may think about stepping onto an overturned bucket or chair. Doing so, though, is a recipe for disaster. Put simply, unless you are climbing onto something that can securely hold your weight, you risk a serious injury. 

  1. Using the incorrect ladder for a task 

Ladders come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many designs have a specific purpose. Generally, you should never use a ladder that is either too short or too tall for your project. By always selecting the appropriate ladder, you decrease your chances of injuring yourself during a fall. 

  1. Using a broken ladder 

Like most other pieces of equipment you use regularly, ladders can eventually wear out or break. Therefore, before climbing onto a ladder, you should inspect it for signs of damage. If you see any, you should not use the ladder. 

  1. Using a ladder incorrectly 

Most ladders have instructions for proper use. For example, climbing on the top step of the ladder may be off-limits. If you use a ladder improperly, you may sustain a serious injury in a fall. Also, any time you move a ladder, look at the space above your head. If you entangle a metal ladder in electrical wiring, you may receive a life-threatening jolt of electricity.

Ladder accidents are responsible for some of the more avoidable workplace injuries. While you may be able to receive workers’ compensation payments for the injuries you sustain at work, avoiding a serious injury altogether is a better approach.