Shocking Stats About Ladder Use

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.

10 Ways to Prevent Falls at Home

Older adults aren’t the only ones who need to worry about falls at home. Many households could benefit from a fall-prevention assessment. While the elderly are at increased risk, people of all ages end up in the hospital every single year due to preventable falls. Such injuries can lead to limited mobility, reduced activity, lost work time, inability to participate in recreational activities, and even loss of life.

Here are 10 ways you can help keep your own home safe:

  • Remove clutter. From playrooms with toys strewn all over the floor, to home offices with stacks of paper everywhere, your house might just be one giant fall risk. Keep the messes at a minimum to reduces trips and falls.
  • Arrange furniture appropriately. Always make sure there is plenty of space between furniture to move around freely, without bumping into anything. In addition, make sure any area rugs are properly secured, to avoid slipping when you step on them, or tripping over a raised edge.
  • Invest in a bathroom rug. The bathroom floor can get slick with condensation after a hot shower, or can quickly turn into a pond with kids splashing around in the tub. A cheap rug is an easy way to give yourself somewhere to stand when the floor is unsafe.
  • Keep your shower safe. While we’re on the subject of your bathroom – showers and bathtubs are a huge fall risk. Go out and pick up some of those little non-slip appliques or a non-slip mat to help prevent any accidents while you’re soaping up.
  • Clean up spills immediately. From a knocked-over dog water bowl to a spilled cup of juice, any puddle on the floor is a danger. Make sure any liquid messes get cleaned up asap.
  • Keep wires and cords out of the way. In today’s homes, electronics are all over the place. Between multiple televisions, computers, video game consoles, and cell phone chargers, there are more wires laying around than ever before. Keep those wires clear of walkways, and, if possible, invest in a device such as this to help keep them contained.
  • Install railings in all stairways. If you live in a multi-level house, it is essential to have proper handrails installed in all stairways. In fact, in most states, your home won’t even pass inspection without the proper railings.
  • Practice proper ladder safety. Ladders are one of the leading causes of fall-related injuries in the home, year-after-year. Keep yourself safe by always choosing the correct ladder for the job and always following the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.
  • If you have small children, use baby gates where necessary. As anyone with children knows, babies and toddlers love climbing things they shouldn’t. Baby gates should be installed both at the foot of and the top of stairwells, as well as anywhere there is a fall risk. For instance, if your kitchen is recessed, and you have to step down to go into the room, you should probably put a gate in the doorway.
  • Keep walkways neat. It’s easy to ignore the messes outside your house, but they’re a litigation waiting to happen! You want to keep your own family safe, of course, but keep in mind – if a stranger trips over those gardening tools you left on the sidewalk, they could sue you for any injury-related medical bills.

If you follow these simple tips and stay mindful of your surroundings, you should easily avoid most trips and falls within the home.