Just Say No To Ladders

Source: NIOSH The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

 

There is a pressing need to address the serious problem of ladder-related falls and to reduce the resulting injury and death.

  • In the United States, more than 500,000 people per year are treated—and more than 300 people die from ladder-related injuries.

  • The estimated annual cost of ladder injuries in the United States is $24 billion, including work loss, medical, legal, liability, and pain and suffering expenses.

  • Recent data analysis from three surveillance systems showed that in 2011, work-related ladder fall injuries in the United States resulted in 113 fatalities, an estimated 15,460 nonfatal injuries that involved days away from work, and an estimated 34,000 nonfatal injuries treated in emergency departments.

  • Workers who are male, Hispanic, older, self-employed, work in smaller establishments, and work doing construction, maintenance, and repair experience higher ladder fall injury rates.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ladder fall injuries are a persistent hazard both in the workplace and at home. There are five major causes for ladder fall incidents:                                                                                                                                

  1. Incorrect extension ladder setup angle — In approximately 40% of cases, the leading cause of ladder-related injuries is a ladder sliding out at the base due to an incorrect setup angle. Ladder users tend to set extension ladders at shallower angles than the optimal desired angle (75 degrees).

  2. Inappropriate ladder selection — Selection of a ladder with the proper duty-rating is also important to avoid structural failure. However, many ladder users lack knowledge of proper ladder selection.

  3. Insufficient ladder inspection — You can reduce the likelihood of ladder structural failure by practicing regular inspection and maintenance.

  4. Improper ladder use — Activities such as overreaching, carrying objects, applying excessive force, slips, and missteps are also frequent causes of ladder-related fall injuries.

  5. Lack of access to ladder safety tools and information — Small companies that account for up to 80% of all construction companies, and individual ladder users, such as homeowners, do not typically receive the required training for safe use of portable ladders. Such ladder users are difficult to reach, often do not have access to safety information, and generally lack the resources to develop or follow an effective ladder safety program.

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