Motor vehicle accidents and falls are major causes of unintentional injuries. Generally speaking, a fall can be categorized as a fall on stairs or steps, out of an open window or out of a building, off a ladder, into a hole, or from one level to another. You can also fall from playground equipment or from tripping over furniture on level ground.
Of these accidents, falls from ladders are of particular concern because of their frequency and due to the fact that they involve falling from a height. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a useful ladder safety app designed specifically to reduce ladder falls.
Using a ladder can be dangerous, regardless of whether you only use a ladder occasionally or if you use one every day. In fact, falls from a height are a common cause of workplace fatalities. Falling off a ladder can lead to a wide range of injuries, ranging from minor to serious, life-changing injuries, permanent disability, and even death.
Some of the most common injuries people suffer from falling off ladders include head injuries, broken bones, broken pelvis, and broken back. These are all serious injuries that can incapacitate you for weeks, months, or even for life. Before you climb a ladder again, keep reading to learn more about how to stay safe.
How Do Ladder Falls Happen?
A fall from a ladder can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone. Here are the common causes of ladder-related injuries.
- A damaged or low-quality ladder that breaks during use
- Incorrectly placing the ladder on uneven ground or a slippery surface
- Pranks that involve pushing, scaring, or shaking someone who is on a ladder
- Ladder safety devices that are not used properly or are not used at all
- Using an incorrect type or size of ladder based on the job at hand
Common Ladder Injuries
If you fall off a ladder, you can sustain a number of different injuries, including:
- Bumps and bruises
- Scratches or lacerations
- Broken bones or fractures
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion
- Death, if you fall from a great height or land on a sharp object
If you must use a ladder at home, at work, or elsewhere, follow this checklist first.
- Make sure the ladder is securely fastened to the wall, if possible
- Place the ladder on a non-slip surface
- If your ladder has wheels, make sure the wheel locks are on before you climb the ladder
- Check for any loose or missing rungs
- Make sure to avoid exceeding the ladder’s recommended safe load limit
- Choose the right type of ladder for the right job
- If you cannot fully reach where you need to reach, do not place additional items on top of the ladder; instead, use a bigger ladder
- Check to make sure that the ladder’s locking bars are straight; bent locking bars can mean that your ladder is not securely fastened open
The first thing you need to do if you fall from a ladder is to check for injuries. Even if you don’t believe you are seriously injured, you should still see a doctor because some injuries don’t show up until later. If your accident was caused by a defective ladder or by someone’s negligence, you may also want to reach out to a lawyer who can correctly estimate injury compensation.
Educating yourself about the risk factors of ladder falls and their associated preventive measures is the best way to reduce them. If you or a loved one has fallen from a ladder, try not to move the injured individual as you may inadvertently aggravate his or her injuries. Instead, seek professional medical assistance immediately.