Boston Ladder Accident Attorney

Almost every homeowner owns a ladder, even if it is just a small stepladder. They are needed for basic home maintenance, like cleaning gutters, cutting tree branches, and refilling bird feeders. Ladders are used by millions of Americans, usually as an afterthought. Who could think these simple contraptions could be so dangerous?

As it turns out, those simple contraptions are responsible for thousands of insurance claims around the country. People who own their own construction companies can tell you first-hand a ladder is anything but a toy, and it requires employing some basic safety tips to keep everyone on the crew safe.

You do not have to own a team of home remodelers to worry about ladder liability, either. Even if a neighbor is helping you paint your house and gets injured while using your ladder, you could wind up in court.

Basic Safety Tips

The first step required before using a ladder is to inspect it, even if you have used it dozens of times. In 2010, more than 160,000 people were admitted to an emergency room due to ladder-related injuries. Here are some other safety tips to help minimize the risk of a ladder injury:

  • Pick the correct ladder for the job. You want a ladder that is the correct height to get the job done. Indoor ladders should be low step ladders or un-extended extension ladders. The ladder should also be able to handle the proper load if you are carrying heavy toolboxes or construction materials.
  • Always place a ladder on dry, stable ground. Avoid using a ladder in the grass immediately after it rains.
  • Never use a ladder if it is loose or needs any repairs. Tighten any loose screws, rungs, or other working parts.
  • Clear anything from the steps that might make it slippery. Moisture, mud, or grease can make it easy to lose your footing.
  • Ladders propped against walls should follow the 4-1 rule. The ladder should be a foot away from the wall for every four feet high.
  • Never use ladders near doorways. Even if the door opens inward, this can pose a significant safety risk.
  • Only one person should be on a ladder at any given time.
  • Utilize a spotter whenever possible, especially on work sites. Dangerous jobs or large construction projects with multiple teams need someone to hold the ladder and run materials.

Stepladders

Stepladders are excellent for a variety of home uses, and 4′ and 6′ ladders are the most common. If your home has many vaulted ceilings, you will likely need a slightly larger ladder, though. The idea is your feet should be 2′ from the top rung for complete safety. Never use the step labeled “This is not a step!”

Extension Ladders

If you carry large ladders outdoors vertically instead of horizontally, you reduce the chance of pulling muscles in your back when getting the device into position. Take special care maneuvering outside. Hitting the top of your garage door or a tree branch is jarring and can tear muscles, and hitting power lines can be fatal, even with wooden or fiberglass ladders.

If you live in a rural area, do a lot of outdoor work, or your ladder is needed for a construction business, consider buying an extension ladder with spikes or locks for the feet to keep them stable. These dig into the ground to prevent movement. Keep the center of your body within the center of the ladder. If your belt buckle is no longer between the two ladder legs, you are stretching too far from your center of gravity and risk falling.

For complete legal coverage in a ladder accident, contact Sweeney Merrigan Law. We specialize in handling personal injury cases.