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Personal Injury

Watch Your Step: Ladder Accidents are No Joke

September 9, 2013 | Michael Barasch

Ladder accidents are relatively common and can lead to serious, even life-threatening injuries. In fact, according the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 500,000 individuals receive treatment every year for ladder-related injuries, while about 300 die from their injuries. Furthermore, construction accidents that lead to ladder falls have an increased potential for serious injuries due to the extreme conditions involved.

All types of ladders, including A-frames, extension ladders, stepladders and rolling ladders can be prone to toppling or falling if not set up properly or in adequate conditions. Ladder accidents and injuries in the Bronx and elsewehere are most likely to result from one of the following factors:

  • Tipping ladders
  • Slipping ladders
  • Collapsing ladders
  • Loose or broken rungs
  • Poor or inadequate traction
  • Improper positioning
  • Inadequate flooring or floor placement
  • Overreaching or overbalancing
  • Equipment colliding with a ladder

Injuries you may suffer in a ladder accident can range from relatively mild to severe. Some common ladder injuries include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries, such as concussions or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injury that could lead to partial or full paralysis
  • Burns, cuts or other surface wounds
  • Other types of back or neck injuries

Preventing ladder accidents

Many ladder accidents could have been avoided if proper safety measures had been followed. In fact, New York Labor Law and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) both require construction employers to provide workers with safe work conditions, equipment and instruction. But when employers fail to comply or enable negligence from employees, injured workers have the right to seek compensation with the help of an attorney for ladder injury victims.

The following regulations exist to protect workers from ladder injuries:

  • Inspect every ladder prior to use
  • Mark and remove defective ladders
  • Always carry ladders parallel to the ground
  • Avoid getting grease, oil or chemical hazards onto the ladder
  • Do not overload ladders
  • Use proper equipment such as a rope or pulley to raise and lower heavy tools and secure non-heavy tools in a belt or pouch
  • Never move a ladder while occupied or “walk” a ladder
  • Isolate ladder from surrounding traffic while in use


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