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Ladder Accidents Continue to Plague Construction Workers

The New York attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy have been talking about the frequency of construction falls and how, statistically, they far outnumber the field when it comes to fatal work accidents. Few are aware of how often those falls involve ladders. This article, brought to you by Block O'Toole & Murphy, outlines how dangerous working on a ladder can really be.

While it may come as no surprise that falls are the primary cause of construction related injury and death, a recent study by CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health* (NIOSH), which analyzes data from multiple sources concerning ladder fall injuries across the U.S., reveals that ladder accidents, in particular, comprised 43% of fatal falls in the last decade.

Specifically, among construction workers, an estimated 81% of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments involved a ladder. That is a staggering statistic. In 2011 alone, work-related ladder fall injuries resulted in 113 fatalities and nearly 50,000 non-fatal injuries.

Additional information revealed that men and Hispanics had higher rates of fatal and nonfatal ladder fall injuries when compared with women and non-Hispanic whites and persons of other races or ethnicities. This highlights how attempted reforms to worker safety laws and protections will disproportionately impact Hispanic and minority workers. For 11,400 documented ladder fall injuries approximately 90% of the accidents involved falls from 6-10 feet. A fall from 6-10 feet, at first blush, does not sound particularly dangerous. However, as experienced construction accident attorneys, we can attest that a hardworking person's life as they know it can be dramatically changed after such a fall, particularly when it is unexpected or involves trauma to the head. Whether the ladder is 6 feet or 20 feet off the ground, we must remain vigilant about worker safety.

Clearly, injuries from ladder falls can be severe, but in most cases ladder accidents are preventable with the proper training and the use of safe, properly erected and secured ladders. Too often, we see unopened or partially opened ladders leaning against a wall or a ladder erected on top of a scaffold or unsecured ladders that lead to a dangerous accident and serious injuries. These, again, are largely preventable and usually occur because there is a premium placed on completing the work at a fast pace rather than in a safe manner. In an effort to promote safe ladder use NIOSH has even developed a smart phone application "Ladder Safety" (available in English and Spanish at which provides easy access to safety guidelines, and checklists for ladder selection, inspection, and use.

Unfortunately, ladder accidents happen frequently in the construction industry in particular. Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP is a firm of construction injury trial lawyers. Block O'Toole & Murphy has been helping victims of construction site accidents for decades. The New York construction accident attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy have a long and proud tradition of representing workers who have been injured on the job and they have a track record that is second to none, including more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their clients. If you or a loved one has been in a ladder accident at work, you need to hire an experienced construction accident attorney with a track record of helping ladder accident victims.

For more information on the rights of construction workers injured on the job contact Block O'Toole & Murphy at 212-736-5300 for a free consultation, and visit the firm's website at

* "Occupational Ladder Fall Injuries - United States, 2011," by Socias, C., Menendez, C., Collins, J., Simeonov, P., Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report April 25, 2014, Volume 63, Issue 16, pages 341-346.