If you work in the construction sector, you probably use a ladder frequently. After all, you must reach spaces that are high above your head. Still, if you are not careful, you may sustain a life-threatening injury in a work-related ladder accident.

Ladders are essential tools for many construction workers. Unfortunately, though, about 500,000 ladder users suffer some type of injury every year. While you may be able to receive fair compensation for an on-the-job injury, you probably want to avoid one altogether. Here are three reasons ladder accidents usually occur:

  1. Using the wrong ladder 

Not every ladder is right for every job at work. When selecting a ladder, you must think about size, stability, material and other relevant factors. If you use the wrong ladder to do a task, you may inadvertently boost your odds of injuring yourself.

  1. Placing the ladder in the wrong spot 

Before you climb onto a ladder, you must be sure you have placed it in a safe spot. When doing so, check for overhead electrical lines. You should also avoid loose or uneven surfaces. Additionally, you may need to ask a coworker to hold the ladder steady.

  1. Failing to repair the ladder 

Like all the tools you use, ladders have a lifespan. If you trust an old, damaged or ineffective ladder to support your weight, you may be asking for trouble. Therefore, always repair broken ladders before using them. If your ladder is beyond repair, replace it immediately. Furthermore, if you notice a defect with a ladder, alert your coworkers by posting a sign on it.

As a construction worker, you probably cannot forego ladder usage forever. You can, though, take steps to protect yourself every time you work on or around a ladder. By understanding why ladder accidents typically occur, you can reduce your chances of sustaining a serious work-related injury.