No matter how often you climb a ladder at work or how comfortable you feel, you always know that a single fall could be devastating. It can lead to broken bones, back injuries, traumatic brain injuries and much more. One simple mistake is all it takes.

After all, falls are the biggest reason for workplace fatalities in the construction industry, which is one of the most hazardous industries in America. Even if you’re not doing construction, you have to be aware of the risks. You must know how to work safely at any height, and that means knowing how to use a ladder properly and responsibly. Below are some key safety tips that can help:

1. Do not stand on the highest rung or the very top

The ladder is taller than its functional height. Those top rungs, along with the flat surface on the top, should never be used as steps. They simply exist to give you handholds, places to set tools and stability when leaning the ladder against a higher surface. Never climb all the way to the top. If you still need to get a bit higher to finish the job, it’s time to climb down and find a taller ladder.

2. Understand the risks of your specific job

For instance, are you going to work around electricity at all? Is there a chance that a live line could touch the ladder? If so, do not use a metal ladder, which conducts the current. Pick a fiberglass one instead.

3. Only reach as far as you can without leaning

This is one of the rules that employees break the most. When something is just out of reach, it’s tempting to lean so that you don’t have to move the ladder, but it’s very dangerous. You can slip and fall off of the ladder, or you can pull the ladder sideways so that it tips over with you on it. Never lean to the side at all. Stay straight in line with the ladder and only work at arm’s length.

4. Be careful with heavy loads

You have to carry tools and materials up the ladder for specific jobs, but you must always be careful about how much you carry. If it seems dangerous and precarious, like it may cause you to slip or lose your balance, don’t carry it. You always want to have three contact points on a ladder, which means both feet and one hand, while working. Never carry so much that you can’t maintain that.

Fall incidents and your rights

You may follow all of these safety tips and still get involved in a fall accident. It’s quite common. Make sure you know what legal rights you have as a worker in Georgia.