Mind your step over the holiday weekend
Easter weekend is a time when the DIYers and gardeners get active to do all those jobs around the property before winter arrives.
Cleaning out gutters, pruning trees and shrubs, painting and general maintenance around the home are just some of the tasks being done this holiday weekend.
Unfortunately the home holds the unenviable claim of being the most ‘dangerous’ place for injuries. ACC injury claims data show that nearly 50 per cent of all injuries happen around the home.
Most injuries in the home are caused by falls. Many happen outside, on and around ladders. Falling from a ladder more often than not results in longer-term injuries.
The total ladder-related injury claims for the Easter 2016 period was 170, costing $297,683.
In 2016 there were nearly 15,000 active claims*, directly related to falls from ladders in New Zealand, costing just over $26 million.
The average cost of ladder-related injury claims was $1,802, compared with Gardening – $642 and DIY – $902.
There are many ways to stay safe on ladders and avoid all the pain and suffering from falls.
Here are some questions you need to ask when using a ladder.
- Do I need to use a ladder for this job? – Ladders aren’t designed to be used as a platform for working. Maybe scaffolding would be a safer option.
- Is the ladder safe to use? – If a ladder has broken or loose parts or bits missing, don’t use it. It’s not worth the risk.
- Is it set up correctly? – Make sure the ladder is secure, has a stable footing on firm ground, and on the correct angle from the wall. Get a mate or partner to hold the ladder for added security.
- Am I using it correctly? – Move it regularly to avoid over-reaching; don’t hang tools from the rungs.
*An active claim is a claim that had a payment made against it in the year shown, regardless of the year in which the claim was lodged (ie, because some claims have ongoing costs, in any given year it’s likely we’ll be paying costs on claims lodged in previous years).
- over-reaching sideways just to reach that last centimetre of the wall your painting or that last branch your pruning.
- climbing higher than the third step from the top of a straight ladder
- having tools or paint cans resting on the steps or hanging from the rungs.
- carrying heavy or unstable items up the ladder
- having less than three points of contact with the ladder eg both hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand.