Ladder accidents: Preventing falls at work

Many accidents, particularly on construction sites, are the result of ladder falls.

For those in the construction industry, a ladder is almost a must. Unfortunately, ladders can be very dangerous, even for experienced workers. A research team from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has found that 43 percent of deadly falls in the country involved a ladder. Moreover, among workers, approximately one in five fall injuries involved the same.

The researchers associated with the study analyzed data for 2011. They concluded that work accidents involving ladder falls resulted in approximately 15,500 injuries that required no less than one day off work, 113 deaths, and roughly 34,000 injuries that were treated in emergency departments. The study also found that workers with the greatest risk for such accidents are males, older workers, Hispanics and those employed in construction.

However, the study also determined that most ladder falls are preventable. Moreover, it is helpful for an employer to utilize safe practices. In fact, scholars associated with the study encourage employers, safety advocates and other health professionals to work collectively in an effort to help ensure ladder use training is available to those who work with them. Nevertheless, the following steps can help prevent ladder accidents at work:

  • Employees should attempt to perform most work on the ground, without using ladders.
  • Workers should use substitutions for ladders, such as supported scaffolds.
  • All ladders on the worksite should be thoroughly inspected.
  • All equipment should be matched against a worker's height, weight, task and working environment.
  • On-the-job safety training is helpful.

These tips can help prevent an accident on an employer's worksite.

In addition to such suggestions, employees should avoid the following practices:

  • Placing a ladder on unstable bases, including boxes
  • Using a ladder on a pliable ground with unstable footing
  • Tying combine two ladders
  • Ignoring surrounding power lines
  • Shifting a ladder equipment or an individual on the ladder
  • Extending out beyond a ladder's side rails
  • Using an extension ladder in a horizontal fashion

Such actions are considered unsafe.

At the end of the day, many industries utilize ladders all the time, and some accidents are simply unavoidable. If you are dealing with a workers' compensation claim after a ladder fall at your business, you should speak to a lawyer about your options. Whether you are uninsured, want to minimize risk or suspect a fraudulent claim, you have options.

To find out more, contact a workers' compensation defense attorney.

Keywords: ladder, accidents, workplace, workers' compensation