Falls from ladders a major safety risk during holiday season: WorkSafeBC

AS holiday decorations begin lighting our businesses and homes in the days ahead, WorkSafeBC is reminding workers, employers, and the public to use ladders safely.

Falls from ladders are a common source of injury in B.C., particularly at this time of year when people are putting up and taking down lights and decorations and cleaning gutters—often in cold and wet weather conditions. Every year, hundreds of people are seriously injured while using a ladder.

In 2019, there were 1,077 accepted claims as a result of falls from ladders across all industries in B.C., including 325 serious injuries and four deaths.

“To stay safe, you need to choose the right ladder for the job, ensure it’s in good working condition, and take the time to set it up and use safely,” says Barry Nakahara, Senior Manager, Prevention Field Services at WorkSafeBC.

WorkSafeBC urges workers and the public to use ladders safely this holiday season by following these safety tips:

* Select the appropriate ladder for the job. It must be long enough to extend one metre above the upper landing.

* Inspect the ladder to ensure it is in good working condition before each use.

* Always set up the ladder on a firm, level surface.

* Maintain three points of contact while climbing a ladder: two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot.

* Wear slip-proof footwear.

* Don’t carry heavy or bulky objects while climbing up or down a ladder.

* Wind, rain, and snow may pose additional hazards. Avoid ladder work in inclement weather.

* Check for power lines and ensure a minimum distance of three meters can be maintained at all times before starting work.

Related resources:

·       Ladder safety video series

·       Ladder safety resources