Ladders can be dangerous, whether you’re on the worksite or in the home. From slips and falls to accidental electrocutions, it is truly unbelievable how many accidents happen because of improper ladder use. In the worst of cases, improper use can cost businesses millions of dollars, leave the injured permanently handicapped, and even take loved ones away from their families. With National Ladder Safety Month right around the corner, it’s a great time to talk about the shocking statistics surrounding the issue.
- A Consumer Product Safety Commission report states that more than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year. These injuries could be as simple as a sprained ankle, or as serious as a life-threatening head injury. Never take the “that would never happen to me” approach when it comes to ladders – even the most seasoned pros have serious accidents.
- Falls accounted for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s more than a third of all worksite deaths – a truly alarming number.
- In 2016, OSHA reported 2,625 violations involving ladders, making ladder safety number 7 on their annual list of the Top 10 most cited violations (and that wasn’t the first time ladder safety showed up there – it is consistently on the list, year-after-year).
- According to the National Safety Council, of all work-related injuries, falls are the second leading cause of death. Many of these happen at a lower level, resulting in a head injury, or injury to multiple body parts. While you may feel that you are safe as long as you’re not too far off the ground, any ladder work needs to be approached with great caution and care.
- Researchers at Columbus Children’s Hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) in Ohio found that 97 percent of ladder-related injuries occurred at homes, farms and other non-occupational settings. Accidents can happen during even the most benign activities, such as hanging Christmas lights or painting a wall. Proper safety measures are always important!
- Over the last 10 years, ladder-related injuries have increased by 50%. That means that despite the prolific amount of safety information floating around out there, we are somehow becoming less safe! There is no reason this should be happening.
As National Ladder Safety Month approaches, take the time to think about how you could improve your own ladder safety habits, both in the house and on the job. The OSHA Portable Ladder Safety Quick Card is a great reference tool that you can keep folded up in your wallet, or pinned to your fridge. With a little thought and consideration, many ladder-related accidents can be avoided right from the start.