When we think of serious injuries that occur in the workplace, we often picture electrocution, exposure to chemicals, cuts, and more. But one of the most common serious injuries that workers sustain annually is falling from a ladder or stairway. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 104 construction workers died after falling from ladders in 2016. Frequent deaths and injuries at work due to ladders isn’t all too surprising considering that ladders at construction sites were one of the top 10 most frequently cited standards in the fiscal year 2019.
Rules and Standards for Ladders
OSHA, an agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, is responsible for overseeing safety in the workplace. In an effort to reduce some of the accidents and injuries that occur from ladders it has implemented rules and standards, of which employers are required to abide. They include the following:
- You may not tie ladders together to create a longer ladder;
- Portable ladders must be designed to support a minimum of four times the intended workload;
- The rungs of portable metal ladders must be coated in skid-resistant material and must be dimpled or corrugated;
- Each part of the ladder must have a safe surface area that doesn’t create a risk of snagging clothing or causing lacerations or puncture wounds;
- The rungs (or steps) of the ladder must be spaced 10-14 inches apart; and
- The rungs (or steps) must be parallel and level once the ladder has been properly set up.
Ladder Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
As with most other workplace injuries, when you have been injured in a ladder accident while on the job, you are likely entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits should cover your medical bills as well as provide financial assistance while you are out of work or if you have become permanently disabled.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover you for the full extent of your financial losses, such as having to modify your home with a wheelchair ramp or pain and suffering.
Sometimes you may also be able to file a third-party claim, such as a product liability claim against the manufacturer if the ladder was defective or a third-party who acted negligently, such as a subcontractor.
While you can fill out the proper forms to apply for workers’ compensation on your own, it is generally in your best interest to first consult with a qualified and experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can also help to explain to you your options for financial recovery.
The PA Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help
When you have been seriously injured in an accident, you may not even know how to proceed. Luckily, the attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP can help. We understand the impact that an injury or the loss of your job can have on all aspects of your life. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!