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Tips to climb a ladder safely on a California construction site

You go to work in the morning knowing a busy day on the job site awaits. You’re going to spend a good portion of your day on a ladder, hammering trim, installing cabinetry, hanging light fixtures or painting. Whatever the boss wants you to do.

But before you climb even one step up the ladder, there are many precautions you need to take. One of them is making sure the boss has provided you with the right tools to do the job safely.

Here are 10 of the best tips to make sure you stay safe on a ladder at a California construction site.

  1. Choose the right ladder. Consider the following: How high will you need to reach? Is the ladder suitable to support your weight? Is the ladder for indoor use, outdoor use or both? If the ladder you have isn’t suited for your purposes, ask your supervisor to provide access to the proper ladder.
  2. Make sure you are working on a firm foundation. If you have to work on a soft surface, put a board under the ladder. Avoid placing it on a wet or soft surface.
  3. Ensure either straight or extension ladders are fastened to an upper support.
  4. If you are working behind a door, block access to the door from the front side. Someone trying to open the door could knock you off the ladder.
  5. Never put a ladder on something, such as a box, to make it taller.
  6. Don’t climb up the ladder with tools in your hand; put them in a tool belt.
  7. Maintain three points of contact: have either two feet and one hand on the ladder, or two hands and one foot.
  8. Do not climb to higher than the third rung from the top.
  9. Wear shoes that are slip-resistant.
  10. If the weather is wet or windy, don’t use an extension ladder. If bad weather starts when you’re on the ladder, get down right away.

Falls from a ladder can result in devastating injuries, or even death. Climbing a ladder is not something to take nonchalantly. Work with your employer to make sure you have the proper ladder and other equipment before starting a job. If you are injured from a ladder fall or other event, a lawyer with experience in construction injury cases could help you seek relief until you can return to work.