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How Unsafe Ladders Can Cause Severe Workplace Injuries


Ladders are one of the most hazardous pieces of equipment used in many workplaces, and can cause serious worker injuries.

Injuries cause by ladders can be severe enough to cause death. In this post we will discuss how unsafe ladders are responsible for thousands of workplace injuries.

Facts and figures

According to available statistics, around 100,000 ladder-related falls occur in the United States resulting in emergency room visits. These falls are responsible for over 700 deaths each year. Moreover, there has been a fifty percent increase in ladder-related injury cases seen in the past ten years.

A majority of these cases plague the construction industry, where the use of ladders is the highest. Statistics have also revealed that in 2014, 359 deaths out of the total 899 registered cases were from falls. In the same year, the 8.5 percent of the total deaths in the private industry were the result of fall-related injuries.

Statistics show that workers in the construction industry face higher risks from ladder falls than workers in any other industry. Moreover, statistics show that Hispanics, male workers, and those who are older have a higher rate of fatal and non-fatal falls. Those workers who were self-employed had higher rates of fatality from falls as compared to waged/salaried workers; and employees in smaller businesses with fewer employees had a higher rate of fatality from falls.

Types of injuries caused by ladder falls

When any worker falls from a ladder, the height is significant enough to cause serious injury. People can sustain injuries to the

  • Head
  • Spine
  • Limbs
  • Trunk of the body
  • Upper and lower extremities

Head injuries have a fatality rate of 49%, making it one of the top reasons for ladder-fall fatality. Injuries to the trunk of the body resulted in 12% of the fatalities.

Preventing falls

Ladder falls, and the resulting injuries and fatalities can usually be completely avoided. Workers should follow and adhere to safe use practices. Moreover, it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that the workers adhere to the set safety practices. Some of the essential safety practices are –

  • Try to eliminate/significantly reduce the need for ladders altogether. This can be done with careful planning.
  • Substitute ladders with other safer equipment like aerial lifts or well-built scaffolds.
  • Use good quality ladders that are sturdy and appropriate for the weight of the worker and task to be performed
  • Ensure all workers using ladders are trained and informed about correct ladder usage and safety tips.

While using ladders, workers should keep the following in mind –

  • Always keep a three-point body contact with the ladder while using.
  • Ladders should be placed on firm, leveled ground.
  • Extra caution should be exercised if carrying heavy objects while climbing ladders.
  • Avoid placing ladders in front of gates or doors.
  • If another person is not there on the ground to brace a ladder, it should be staked in the ground.

Injured in a Fall Accident in Missouri?

Ladder-related injuries are preventable and safety should always be the priority while using ladders. Since it may not be possible to prevent ladder accidents completely, those who suffer ladder-related fall injuries can make a claim for workers compensation benefits. If you face any issue in getting the rightful benefits, you should seek help from the workers comp attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. Give us a call today at (314) 361-4300 for a free case evaluation.

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