Ladders are common and necessary on most New York construction sites. Yet, ladders are also a frequent contributor to construction worker injuries and fatalities. The more construction workers and their employers understand what causes construction-related ladder falls and the toll they take, the better the chance they might be able to reduce ladder-related hazards in their places of employment.
Per the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Health and Safety, about a quarter of all nonfatal falls in construction are falls from ladders. Also, 38% of all deaths in construction are the result of falls. Only about 15% of deaths across all other industries involve falls.
Ladder falls and emergency room visits
A study of more than 300 injured construction workers who sought treatment at emergency rooms after falling from ladders revealed that the average age of such a construction worker was 39. The study also showed that most, or 86%, of injured workers were male. The average worker who sought emergency medical care after a ladder fall only fell 7.5 feet. Only 5% of instances involved construction workers who fell more than 20 feet.
Ladder falls and economic consequences
Most construction workers who experience fall-related injuries after a ladder fall find that the incidents impact their income. The typical male construction worker who makes $50,000 annually makes an average of $38,550 per year after suffering a fall-related injury.
Many ladder falls result from similar circumstances, such as workers using the wrong ladder for a particular job. Learning what causes most ladder falls should help employers figure out how to mitigate fall-related risks on their job sites.