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Ladder Safety – Or Lack There Of

Last week, the News & Observer included a picture on the front page of its Triangle section of a man balancing precariously on the top of a step ladder trimming trees.  This picture could be used as a great example of what not to do because falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatality.  In fact, most falls (79%) are a result of excessive reaching or incorrect ladder placement.

Ladder injuries are most common in adult males aged > 18 years (mean 42.9 +/- 16.2 years), from a distance of 1-15 feet. Other primary injuries include fractures or dislocations to the extremities, spine injuries, bleeding in the brain and even death.  

In the United States, injuries due to a fall from a ladder results in an average one week hospital stay and six weeks of disability and unemployment. For the sake of your health, please be very careful when doing anything on a ladder.

And, if you are a photographer who is thinking of taking a picture of someone misusing a ladder, please print the picture in the paper with a list ladder use of dos and don’ts.  Better yet, refrain from taking the picture and intervene in consideration of the health of the ladder user.

Post provided by Dr. Okechukwu Nwoko, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon with Wake Orthopaedics.


One thought to “Ladder Safety – Or Lack There Of”

  1. I’m glad you brought this up. I am a chiropractor in St George UT and I have actually seen ladder injuries just like you describe. The only difference I see, is the age distribution. I tend to see a slightly older patient group. But it might be a function of the population here.

    As I chiropractor, I end up treating the lowerback, neck, and SI pain instead of the knee and hip issue that an orthopod sees. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

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