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Ladders are major workplace safety hazards due to fall risk

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Workers’ Compensation

People in many different professions may have to climb ladders to do their jobs. Those working in historical archives may climb ladders to access books and paperwork in deep storage. Those working in construction or building maintenance may frequently need to use letters to access light fixtures or windows.

While performing a job on a ladder isn’t necessarily as dangerous as being 10 stories above the ground, it is still quite dangerous. Every year, hundreds of employees die and hundreds of thousands of others end up injured because of falls from ladders.

Why ladders are dangerous

There are many factors that contribute to the risk inherent in using a ladder at work. People sometimes use the wrong type of ladder given the function that they must perform, which could increase their risk of a serious injury. They could also potentially climb onto the upper rungs or do work on ladders without someone else present to monitor them and stabilize the ladder itself.

Regardless of the size of the ladder, such scenarios could lead to serious injuries. People can break bones when they fall off of a ladder. They could also very easily suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). They could strike their head on the ladder, the building or the ground. Such injuries could have life-altering consequences for the professional who falls.

Brain injuries and other physical injuries caused by falls from ladders can create functional limitations. People may not be able to perform the same job tasks that they previously completed without issue. Brain injuries can also cause balance issues that lead to an increased risk of a fall in the future, changes to someone’s personality and even issues with memory or decision-making.

A fall from a ladder may seem like a minor issue, but it is an incident that requires a report to an employer. Even those who don’t notice major injury symptoms at first might develop symptoms later. Traumatic brain injuries, for example, often slowly worsen after the initial trauma.

Someone who seems fine at first could eventually require hospitalization and intensive medical intervention. Workers who report falls when they occur may have an easier time requesting workers’ compensation benefits if they later require medical care. Often, any fall that involves a sizable ladder could warrant someone leaving the job site to undergo a medical evaluation. The earlier someone obtains a diagnosis with a brain injury, the better their chances of avoiding worsening symptoms.

Workers’ compensation benefits can help those coping with lost wages and medical expenses related to a fall from a ladder or a similar incident on the job. Reporting an injury and learning about worker protections may benefit those exposed to dangerous elements, like ladders, at work.