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Use ladders safely this holiday season, WorkSafeBC cautions

Seven workers died in falls from ladders in the province between 2013-17

WorkSafeBC is reminding workers, employers and homeowners to use ladders safely, both on the job and while decorating at home for the holidays.

Between 2013 and 2017, seven workers died and there were 4,985 accepted time-loss claims — including 1,667 serious injuries — as a result of falls from ladders across all industries in British Columbia.

“Falls from ladders are a serious safety concern in B.C., particularly at this time of year when wind, rain and snow pose hazards,” said Jessica Berglund, senior manager, prevention field services, for WorkSafeBC. “Using a ladder safely can prevent serious injury or death. This includes choosing the right ladder, positioning it correctly and assessing hazards.”

WorkSafeBC recommends workers select the right ladder for the job and ensure it is long enough to extend 1 metre above the upper landing. The ladder should be placed on a firm, level surface and inspected before each use, and workers should maintain three points of contact while climbing a ladder.

It's also important that work is not done from the top two rungs of the ladder, that only one worker be on the ladder at a time and that heavy or bulky objects are not carried up or down a ladder.

WorkSafeBC cautions that wind, rain and snow may pose hazards that need to be addressed, and the area should be checked for power lines to ensure a minimum distance of 3 metres can be maintained at all times before starting work.

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