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Don't underestimate short ladders at work

As a painter or a construction worker, you've been told about the risks of falling off of a ladder many times. When you have to work on tall ladders that are over 30 feet, you try to be as careful as you can. When you're working on a roof, you use fall protection equipment. You don't want to get seriously injured.

This is a good start, but the problem is that it doesn't extend to short ladders. When you're just 8 or 10 feet off of the ground, you don't worry in the same way. You feel like you'll be safe. After all, those fatal falls that you hear so much about must be from much greater heights, right?

Not so fast. Reports actually show that most falls that wind up being fatal are from a maximum of 20 feet. Many are from less than 20 feet.

The key here is to realize that a fall can put you in serious danger no matter where it happens. Standing on a "short" ladder to change a light bulb in a room with 10-foot ceilings could be incredibly dangerous. Slipping and falling on the stairs could put you in the hospital, even though you're not at elevation at all. Never assume that you can't get seriously injured just because you're not at an extreme height. You always want to practice safety when you can.

If you still do get injured on the job in a fall from any distance, it's important to look into all of the legal options you have to seek workers' compensation.

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