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Ladder Accident Prevention Requires Workplace Safety Training

The most common types of ladder accidents are those in which the wrong type of ladder is used, ladders fall or collapse because they are in poor condition, and accidents in which the ladder is not used correctly.

Ladder Accidents Caused by Incorrect Use

The Bureau of Labor Statistics studied 1,4000 U.S. ladder accidents and provided more detail about the causes related to incorrect use. Some of the causes relate to training and general safety procedures and include:

  • Holding objects while climbing the ladder (57 percent)
  • Having wet or oily shoes (30 percent)
  • Failing to use braces at the top or bottom (60/53 percent)
  • Failing to train employees in ladder inspection (66 percent)
  • Failing to provide information about safe ladder use

Ladder Accidents on the Rise in the United States

According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the number of ladder accidents in the United States grew more than 50 percent between 1990 and 2005.  More than 2.1 million people were treated for ladder-related injuries in this time period, averaging more than 136,000 cases each year.  The vast majority of these injuries occurred in homes, farms and other non-work settings.

Hospitalizations were required for around 10 percent of ladder injuries studied. Other statistics show that men were more likely than women to be injured in ladder accidents. The most common injuries were fractures.  Legs and feet were the most common types of injuries.

Report from the NYC Department of Buildings

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) reports injuries and fatalities that occurred on construction sites in the city every month.  Between January and April of 2014, the DOB reported three accidents specifically related to ladders.  Although this may not seem like many, this means that there are 12 ladder accidents reported each year. There are many more falls listed in the monthly statistics that are not specifically defined as ladder falls but could be.

Clearly, having employers train employees on safety issues related to the use of ladders could go a long way toward reducing ladder accidents. 

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