The ladder is one of the most dangerous everyday pieces of equipment. Most people have ladders in their homes or at work without realizing the significant dangers they pose. Ladders are behind a large portion of hospital and emergency department visits each year. They account for more than 500,000 injuries and 300 deaths in the US annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Even someone well-versed in ladder safety could make a mistake that leads to tragedy, such as carrying up too heavy of a load or missing signs of a ladder defect. In other ladder accident cases, a defect with the ladder itself could cause an unforeseeable accident and injury, such as a broken rung. Ladder accidents, especially falls, can inflict life-changing injuries on victims.
What Are the Biggest Causes of Ladder Falls?
Ladder falls cause thousands of injuries and deaths in the US each year. They are especially common accident types in the workplace. From 2011 to 2016, ladder falls caused 836 fatal injuries in the workforce based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ladders were the most common source of fatal falls in this five-year period. Ladder falls can arise from many different ladder defects or user mistakes.
- An old or damaged ladder
- A defective ladder
- Rungs cracking and breaking
- Ladders folding while in use
- Choosing the improper type of ladder for the job
- Using a ladder incorrectly
- Carrying dangerous objects or heavy loads
- Stretching too far out from a ladder
- Failing to properly place or secure a ladder
- Recklessness or horseplay on a ladder
The main two causes of ladder falls are defective ladders and human error. Too many households and workplaces have old, outdated, worn or damaged ladders. Most people use the same ladder for years without inspecting it for problems before each use. They do not realize that, over time, the ladder could grow old and weak. It only takes one small defect to make a ladder unstable or unsuitable for use. This could lead to terrible accidents if the ladder breaks while in use. Misusing a ladder can also lead to harmful and deadly falls. It is up to the user to understand and obey common ladder safety techniques.
What Are the Most Common Injuries?
Ladder accidents can be catastrophic for those involved. Most ladder accidents cause injuries severe enough to require professional medical care. Falls in general account for more than three million emergency department visits annually in the US. Many of these visits arise from ladder accidents. About one in five fall accidents on average cause serious injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Skull fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Herniated disks
- Muscle tears or sprains
- Broken bones
- Hip fractures
- Fatal injuries
Falls account for the highest number of traumatic brain injuries out of all causes. A brain injury could arise from a ladder accident if the victim falls from the ladder and hits his or her head. A victim might never fully recover from the injuries sustained in a ladder accident. Catastrophic injuries could cause permanent disabilities. Other victims do not recover at all.
What Is the Most Common Type of Ladder Accident?
According to injury statistics, the most common type of ladder accident is a fall. A fall from any height – even one or two feet – could cause serious injuries such as bone fractures and head injuries. A fall from a greater height on a tall ladder could cause even more catastrophic injuries. If a ladder defect from the manufacturer caused the fall accident, the victim may have grounds for a product liability claim. If poor ladder maintenance or lack of repairs/replacement from an employer is to blame, the employer could be liable. A ladder accident victim in Texas should work with a personal injury lawyer to understand the liability for his or her damages. The victim may be eligible for financial recovery.