Ladder accidents are extremely common even though they are completely preventable. However, a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report on ladder safety showed that more than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year. A 2014 survey from the Center for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that ladders are involved in 20 percent of fall injuries among workers. Among construction workers, an estimated 81% of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments involved a ladder
In the news, a worker died after slipping off a ladder and falling about 30 feet in Brooklyn. He had been working on the exterior of a two-story building on 20th St. in Windsor Terrace, reported the New York Daily News (3.27.15).
Shulem Benyosef, 44, landed on his head after falling on his head, said the tabloid, citing officials and the blog JP Updates. He was transported to Lutheran Medical Center where he died.
Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) list of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. Ladder accidents happen for a number of reasons, but four causes account for the majority of them. These accidents can mostly be prevented if the users of ladders follow safe work practices for ensuring safety.
Falls are mostly caused by:
- Selecting the Wrong Type of Ladder
Choosing the right ladder can make a tremendous difference when it comes to safety. One thing to consider when selecting an appropriate ladder is the ladder’s maximum safe weight capacity. Each ladder is designed to support a maximum weight limit and the weights of the climber, tools, supplies, and other objects placed upon the ladder must not exceed that limit. If the maximum safe load capacity is exceeded, the ladder could break.
The height of the ladder is another consideration when selecting the right one for a job. It is unsafe to use a ladder that is too long or too short.
- Use of faulty ladders
A number of ladder accidents are caused when a climber uses an old, worn, or damaged ladder. Damaged ladders are extremely dangerous as they can easily break while being used.
Workers can protect themselves from injuries caused by damaged or broken ladders by inspecting a ladder before using it to ensure it is in good working order. Defective ladders should not be used.
- Incorrect Use of Ladders
Many falls from ladders occur because of the incorrect use of ladders. These incorrect uses include situations of overreaching, overloading, not maintaining three points of contact, the poor positioning of a ladder, and not securing the ladder.
Workers should never use a ladder in any other way than what the manufacturer intended it to be used for. Ladders should not be lengthened or altered.
- Improper Placement of Ladders
Ladders should be positioned on ground that is level and firm. Ladders should not be leaned against a surface that may be slippery or not strong enough (gutter or glass) to hold the weight of the ladder plus climber and tools. Other factors to be considered in relation to set up are the weather, the work environment and the presence of overhead lines. Ladders should never be placed in front of a door that is not locked, blocked, or guarded.
Ladder injuries can be serious and severe, even work ending or fatal. Individuals who have been involved in a ladder accident should contact an experienced lawyer to discuss their case