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Ladder Falls and Construction Accidents

Young worker falling from the ladder

Ladders are used in the home and at work in a variety of contexts. In the construction industry, ladder-related accidents are a consistent source of worker injuries and fatalities. According to various safety studies, more than 90,000 people across the country receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year. Thousands of workers are injured in ladder falls on the job, and hundreds are killed. Construction workers are hit the hardest by ladder accidents. The dangers of ladders are not, however, inevitable: Safety experts believe nearly all ladder accidents could be avoided with proper safety measures. Continue reading to learn more about how ladder falls impact construction workers, and if you were hurt in a construction ladder fall or any other workplace incident, discuss your claim with a seasoned Southern California workers’ compensation attorney.

Ladder falls are a leading cause of accidental injury and death

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls remain a leading cause of unintentional injury and death across the country. A recent CDC study found that 43 percent of fatal falls nationwide involve a ladder. Elevated falls account for almost 700 occupational deaths every year, representing 15 percent of all occupational deaths.

Across all workers, around 20 percent of fall injuries involved ladders. Among construction workers, the dangers of ladder falls are even more clear: An estimated 81 percent of fall injuries treated in emergency rooms across the country involved a ladder. Construction has the highest rate of ladder fall injuries of any industry. The CDC found that almost half (49 percent) of fatal ladder fall injuries involve a head injury, while the majority of nonfatal injuries involved the upper and lower extremities.

Ladder falls are not inevitable

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) believes that 100 percent of ladder accidents could be avoided if everyone involved paid proper attention to equipment and climber training. With appropriate safety training and equipment, ladder falls would not need to be such a significant cause of injury and death.

Many ladder falls could be avoided by employing, at a minimum, the following safety measures when using a ladder at home or on a construction site:

Use the right type of ladder. Many ladders are appropriate for only certain types of tasks. Each ladder has certain weight limits, and if that limit is exceeded, the ladder might become unstable or break. Choose the ladder with the correct height and weight capacity for the task, rather than re-purposing a taller or shorter ladder for the wrong task.
Avoid worn or damaged ladders. Employers should provide proper, working ladders in good condition. If a ladder exceeds its shelf life, it becomes a danger to use. Thoroughly inspect every ladder before use.
Secure ladders properly. Ladders require level, firm ground to be safe. Uneven, soft, or shifting ground can cause a ladder to become unstable and lead to a fall. Ladders should also not be placed in front of a door unless that door is locked, blocked, or guarded. It is always preferable to have a second person support the base of the ladder while it is in use.
Use ladders correctly. Do not alter a ladder artificially, and do not use a ladder for a purpose other than intended. Proper safety training can help ensure that anyone who gets on a ladder knows exactly what they should and should not be doing.


If you have a claim for workers’ compensation and want to ensure you get the maximum available coverage, call Invictus Law today at 949-287-5711, and speak with a seasoned California workers’ compensation attorney to evaluate your claims.

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