New buildings and existing structure maintenance often require that New York workers use ladders to get the job done. Depending on the project scope, you may go up and down a ladder several times during a project. If the ladder fails and you sustain a fall injury, it is critical that you understand your options.
Roofing Magazine reports that OSHA updated fixed ladder rules in 2018 to improve safety on worksites. The changes include the requirement of a ladder safety system or a personal fall arrest system for work on ladders higher than 24 feet.
Personal fall arrest system designs
OSHA required cages for fixed ladders under the previous rules but removed them in the update. Many professionals agree with this change as it provided little protection from a fall. They may have increased the risk of injury during a fall in many cases. Although several PFAS designs exist, the primary types include the following:
- Track systems
- Bolt-on cable systems
- Top-mounted self-retracting lifelines
OSHA’s safety requirements also specify rung spacing and width, climbing side and back side clearance, pitch and side rail height.
Injuries from ladder falls
Falls from a ladder can have long-term physical and mental effects. Broken bones might sideline you physically for eight weeks or more, but if you suddenly develop a fear of heights, it can take months or years for recovery. Head injuries may result in persistent headaches, a personality change and require physical therapy if they affect motor skills and speech.
If your fall involves someone else’s negligence or a defect in the ladder or PFAS, you may have grounds for a claim. Compensation can help you recover lost wages and pay for medical expenses.