You set up a ladder to install a pair of lights. It’s an exterior job, but you do have a nice concrete slab below the wall, providing a sound foundation. You climb the ladder and install the first light with no problem. Then you look over at the second box, where you need to mount the other light.
It’s just a bit further than you can easily reach, but it’s close. It’s only going to take a few minutes to hook up the wires and hang it. It will take you longer to climb all the way down the ladder, move it over and climb back up again. Should you just lean and see if you can stretch out and reach the box?
You definitely should not, though many people do. Often, it’s just as in this example: People want to save time. They want to save work. They’re just trying to get the job done as quickly as possible. It feels safe enough to lean over and work from the position they’re in, rather than moving the ladder to the ideal position. And it isn’t just homeowners who make this kind of mistake. Professionals working constructions sites, repair personnel and others do the same.
The problem is that even a stable ladder can become unstable very quickly when you lean sideways. It is designed to go straight up and down so that any weight on it falls into that straight, stable line. When you shift the center of your weight to the side, the ladder starts to tip. If it tips too far and unbalances itself, there is nothing you can do to stop it from falling.
Ladder falls happen for all sorts of reasons. This is just one example. If you get injured in a fall of any kind, you need to understand your rights — particularly if the fall happens to occur while working on a construction site or some type of contracting job.