Among the various hazards that can cause workplace injury or illness, ladder accidents are a significant and often preventable risk. And they happen more often than you may think. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls from ladders are among the top causes of workplace injuries yearly.
Among the broken bones and bruises that a fall from a ladder can cause, they could also be fatal. In fact, in 2020 alone, there were 161 fatal work injuries caused by a ladder. Furthermore, over 22,000 nonfatal work-related ladder injuries in 2020 resulted in at least one day of missed work.
Workplace ladder accidents can occur across various industries, most frequently with maintenance and repair work. Other industries include:
- Sales and related services
- Transportation and material moving
- Business and financial
- Farming and forestry
- Office and administration
- Computer engineering
- Education, arts, legal, and community services
Workplace Ladder Accident Causes
Understanding what causes a ladder accident is crucial to developing effective prevention strategies in the workplace. Some of the common factors that contribute to workplace ladder accidents include:
- Lack of training: Inadequate training on ladder usage is a major contributor to accidents. Employees must be educated on proper ladder setup, positioning, and safe climbing techniques.
- High-traffic areas: Where the ladder is placed is just as important as the condition and if it is the correct one to use. Far too often, ladders are placed in high-traffic areas like a doorway, where they are likely to be bumped into or jostled.
- Improper maintenance: Damaged or worn-out ladders significantly increase the risk of accidents. Most workers or companies will likely reuse old ladders instead of getting newer, much safer ones. Regular inspections and maintenance protocols should be established to ensure ladders are in good condition.
- Incorrect ladder choice: Selecting the wrong type or size of ladder for a specific task can lead to instability and falls. Employers should provide guidelines on choosing the appropriate ladder for various job requirements.
- Overreaching: Stretching too far while on a ladder compromises stability and increases the likelihood of losing balance. Workers should be trained to reposition the ladder instead of overreaching.
How to Prevent Workplace Ladder Accidents?
Employers and employees must work together and implement a combination of training, maintenance, and awareness to prevent workplace ladder accidents. Here are some preventative measures you and your workplace could implement:
- Training programs: Employers should prioritize comprehensive ladder safety training programs for all employees. This training should cover proper ladder usage, inspection, and emergency procedures.
- Regular inspections: Establish a routine inspection schedule to ensure all ladders are in good condition. Damaged ladders should be promptly repaired or replaced to prevent accidents.
- Appropriate ladder selection: Provide clear guidelines on selecting the right type and size of ladder for specific tasks. Ensure that employees understand the importance of using the correct equipment.
- Safety equipment: Encourage using safety equipment such as non-slip footwear and harnesses when working at heights. This additional layer of protection can significantly reduce the severity of injuries in case of a fall.
- Patience: Emphasize the importance of taking one step at a time and avoiding rushing when using ladders. Rushing increases the risk of making mistakes that can lead to accidents.
Coatesville Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Advocate for Workers Injured in Ladder Accidents
Workplace ladder accidents are a serious concern that demands attention and proactive measures. You may be entitled to compensation if you have been injured in a ladder accident at work. Contact our Coatesville workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC right away. Call us today at 610-594-1600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.