An Expensive Way to Save Thirty Seconds

Do you recognize this scenario? The nearest step ladder is in another room or inaccessible part of the building and your chair is right there, enticingly convenient and looking pretty sturdy.

Maybe it’s a swivel chair, or your grandma’s teak dining chair, maybe even your kid’s Ikea seat and you figure you only need to get up high for a second – it couldn’t hurt!

One of our team members recognized that she was risking her own safety – and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars – in order to save 30 seconds of time and a $3 ream of paper. Instead of using a proper step stool or step ladder to reach a high shelf in her home, she was using her swivel chair. When she shared this out loud she realized, yes, how ridiculous it sounded but mostly how taking a short cut to save a few seconds and a few dollars could’ve really cost her a whole lot more in time, money and health.

We talk about ladder safety every year. We bring it up for good reason – falls don’t just “cost money”, they can take a massive toll on a person’s quality of life, their families and often their mental health is affected too – something that’s really difficult to put a price tag on.

We get it. Reading a document on ladder safety probably seems a low priority in this moment, but next time you find yourself about to leave terra firma for a higher platform, ask yourself:

  • Do I need to store this thing up high?
  • Do I know if this is the appropriate ladder or platform for the task?
  • Do I know how many points of contact I need to maintain to be safe?
  • Do I know how many rungs from the top of the ladder I should stand to be safe?
  • Do I know the correct angle to place a straight ladder?
  • Can I afford three months off work?

If you answered ‘No’ to any of the above, you might like to peruse the WorkCover NSW Safe Use of Portable Ladders Fact Sheet. If safety is part of your role, we encourage you to download and complete the Ladder Inspection List.