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How to Avoid Ladder Injuries
Watch Your Step: Learn How to Avoid Ladder Injuries
By Neil Kalra
Among construction workers, an estimated 81 percent of fall injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms involve a ladder, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Moreover, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported in 2014 that head injuries made up about half of fatal ladder fall injuries (49 percent); while most nonfatal injuries were to victims’ arms and legs.
In 2016 the American Ladder Institute (ALI), researched and released its study of the five most prevalent causes of serious ladder-related injuries. Missing the last step and overreaching were the two most cited causes for these mishaps. The other three of the five causes are:
- Overreaching while on the ladder
- The ladder was not the right size for the job
- The ladder was not on firm, level ground
The Institute suggests the following preventative measures for all five.
- Always face the ladder when climbing up or down, and don’t skip steps!
- When working from a ladder, avoid overreaching by keeping your center of gravity and body between the side rails. If you can’t easily reach the project area once you’re up the ladder, climb down and move the ladder closer to your project area.
- One of the factors in determining the right ladder for the job is the length. A good rule of thumb when selecting a ladder is to calculate a person’s maximum reach height; which is about four feet higher than the height of the ladder
- Clear trash, construction materials, and other obstructions away from the base and top of the ladder so it fits evenly on the ground. The base of the ladder should be safely secured to prevent accidental movement. You can also use a ladder with non-slip feet or add outriggers or levelers to the bottom of an extension ladder to increase the footprint
- Always maintain three points of contact – two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand – when climbing up or down a ladder. This allows you to maintain your balance.
Ladder-related citations have always been a prominent fixture on OSHA’s annual “Top 10” list of most cited safety violations. In the fiscal year 2016, the agency tallied 2,625 ladder safety violations which put them in seventh place on OSHA’s Top 10. The top specific violations included using ladders for purposes other than which the ladder was designed, using the top of a stepladder as a step, structural defects, and carrying objects or loads on the ladder which could cause them to lose balance and fall.
Overall, there are more than 300 ladder-related deaths each year according to the ALI, and over 130,000 emergency room visits from ladder fall. So whenever we’re using a ladder – on the construction site or around the house – it’s always smart to practice the sort of good ladder safety advocated by the ALI.
“Ignoring ladder safety can not only lead to worker injuries and deaths but can also cost businesses millions of dollars each year in workers’ compensation costs,” according to OSHA spokesperson Kimberly Darby
Whether you or a family member was injured due to a car accident, commercial vehicle accident, or semi-truck accident, you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you deserve. The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting car accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. Call our New York City and Queens car accident lawyers today if you have any questions about a car accident you were involved in. Call us at (718) 897-2211 www.unionlawyer.com