It is a widely held superstition that walking under a ladder brings bad luck. Yet, it also makes perfect sense not to do it. Doing so could endanger you and the person on the ladder.
If a ladder accident occurs in the workplace, you cannot put it down to bad luck. More likely, there was an element of negligence involved.
Your employer needs to provide you with safe working conditions, and ladders introduce an added element of danger. So, where possible, employers should avoid ladder use altogether, and where they are necessary, they should take steps to ensure it is safe.
Is there a safer alternative?
That is the first question an employer should ask. They can often replace ladders with something safer, such as scaffolding, a mobile elevated work platform or ropes and a harness. Those things generally require more time to set up and often more expense, so employers often use ladders instead. Yet when an accident occurs, the cost far outweighs any savings.
Walking under a ladder should be avoided
If you walk under a ladder, you risk the person up the ladder dropping something on your head. If you are on a ladder when someone walks under it, you risk them knocking it over. So employers should establish a rule where no one goes underneath ladders. That may require signs and cordons, especially if the area is open to the public.
Is the ladder as safe as possible?
Ladders need to be suitable for the task, in good condition and properly set up. Anyone ascending them needs footwear that grips, and they need a way of carrying tools that keeps their hands free.
Ladder accidents can result in serious injuries, so understanding how to claim workers’ compensation insurance will be crucial if you are hurt in one.