Have you ever considered what the most dangerous object is at your workplace? Maybe you have a sneaking suspicion that, one day, changing the water jug on the water cooler is going to cause you a serious back injury. Maybe you’re eyeing the gun on your security guard utility belt suspiciously, wondering if it could ever go off and shoot you in the foot. It’s a good idea to be careful with both of these obviously-dangerous items, but sometimes it’s the not-so-obvious things that pose the most serious threats to our safety at work.

For example, think of the stepladder you use to change the light bulb in your office. Regardless of the size of the ladder – whether it’s a three-foot stepladder or a 30-foot extension ladder – this relatively innocuous piece of equipment can be deadly when used irresponsibly.

The human body is made to survive most kinds of trips and falls in a natural environment where the ground is soft and we haven’t elevated ourselves above ground level. However, if you’re working over a hard surface, even if it’s carpeted, and you elevate your body just a couple feet off the ground, falling and striking your head against this hard surface could kill you.

It’s easy to lose one’s balance and fall off a ladder, so it’s vital that employees take care whenever they use one. Although you’re probably covered by workers’ compensation insurance and can pursue insurance money to pay for your medical care after a ladder-related fall, wouldn’t it be preferable to use caution, follow all the safety rules written on the side of the ladder and avoid getting hurt in the first place?

Source: OSHA, “Portable Ladder Safety,” accessed May 25, 2018