What Are the Most Common Causes for Ladder Accidents?

Working on a ladder increases the chances of injury and even fatal accidents, if not done correctly. The most common cause of accidents at work on ladders boils down to human error. Erroneous behavior that may result from a lack of knowledge, bravado or disregard of basic safety regulations is what tips the scale for unpleasant work injuries. In most cases, falling off a ladder is caused due to a loss of stability. A large percentage of accidents is the wrong selection of the ladder. Here are the most common causes:

  • wrong position of the ladder – positioning the landing ladder at the wrong angle to the wall, incomplete spacing of the spacing ladder
  • frontal slide of the ladder – the ladder slides parallel to the wall
  • lateral sliding of the ladder – most often caused by the operator’s tilting beyond the outline of the ladder
  • condition of the ground – unstable, uneven ground
  • improper selection of the ladder – using the spacing ladder as a lean or too short ladder
  • transport of items on the ladder – hands occupied with transported items, eliminating grasping the ladder railing in order to eliminate the loss of imbalance
  • slipping, stumbling by the user – using shoes without anti-slip soles, ice, wet, worn ladder rungs, untied shoe laces, using improper technique of climbing or descending a ladder (overcoming several rungs), descending backwards to the ladder (with your back to it)
  • the condition of the ladder – losses (deficiencies or visible defects such as, for example, cracks in the ladder eliminate it from use), no anti-slip protection
  • ladder collision – positioning the ladder in the vicinity of a closed door that opens inwards, or placing the ladder in open circular motion (without a designated danger zone)

Ladders must meet the requirements specified in by New York State law. However, it is important to note that manufacturers in other states are not always required to issue a declaration of conformity on the ladder.

After receiving information about an accident at work, the employer must immediately provide first aid to the injured person and inform the emergency services. They must also eliminate or reduce any further risk. Then they must secure the place of accident in a way that excludes admitting unauthorized persons and halt any further machinery from operation. 

Securing the scene of the accident plays a key role in reconstructing the circumstances of the accident.

In addition, the employer is obliged to:

  • appoint a post-accident team,
  • implement appropriate measures to prevent future accidents,
  • keep a register of accidents at work,
  • In the event of a fatal or serious accident, the employer is obliged to notify the prosecutor and city labor inspector.

It is estimated that about 30% of all falls from a height are falls from a ladder. If, through someone else’s negligence, you have been injured in a ladder accident, you may be entitled to a legal remedy.

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