New York construction sites have numerous safety hazards. Yet, many construction site injuries result from something that, on the surface, seems simple: using a ladder. Research shows that “falls to a lower level” are among the top causes of injury and fatality in construction. Many such injuries and fatalities result from employers or workers taking shortcuts when it comes to safety to speed up efficiency.
According to Safety and Health, not every ladder is appropriate for every job. Often, construction site ladder falls result from workers using the wrong type of ladder, or a ladder of the wrong height, to perform a particular task.
Ladder fall statistics
In 2020, 645 Americans lost their lives after a “fall to a lower level,” which includes falls from ladders. Another 49,250 Americans suffered serious injuries in such walls, with many who fell from ladders experiencing broken bones, fractures, sprains, swelling, bruising or internal bleeding.
Ladder fall prevention
There are a number of efforts construction industry employers might take to help prevent falls and ladder falls on their job sites and avoid associated workers’ compensation costs. Training all construction workers about the dangers involved in ladder use, and what ladder to use for a particular job, should help mitigate risks to some degree. Investing in easy-to-operate extension ladders that make it easier to raise or lower the ladders may also help reduce ladder-related injury and fatality risks.
Before using a particular ladder for a particular job, construction workers should consider the ladder’s size, reach height and material to make sure it is a good fit for the task at hand.