Chances are, if you make your living working as a roofer or construction worker, you rely on ladders on a near-daily basis to perform the basic functions of your job. Ladder use, however, is responsible for a high number of injuries and deaths every year, with Industrial Safety & Hygiene News revealing some surprising and sobering statistics about the dangers of using ladders.
An average of 500,000 people seek medical treatment for ladder-related injuries every year in the United States. Far more likely suffer injuries in ladder incidents, but decide not to seek treatment. About 300 of the approximately 500,000 people who seek treatment annually after ladder-related falls wind up succumbing to their injuries.
Additional ladder fall statistics
In terms of all fatal falls that occur nationwide, more than a third of them result from people either using ladders or climbing on roofs. While 617 fatal falls occurred in the United States in 2009, about 20% of them involved people falling from ladders, while another 18% involved people falling from roofs. These figures paint a picture of a troubling industry trend. They also suggest a clear need for enhanced safety protocols and practices in the roofing and construction industries.
Recommended safety measures and protocols
Because of the high incidence of ladder falls that occur in the construction and roofing industries, industry employers may be able to help protect their workers by conducting regular training related to fall prevention and ladder safety. For example, all workers should know that they need to use ladders that are the appropriate size for a particular job, and they must also take extreme care to use them only on firm, level ground, among other necessary precautions.
The more you rely on ladders to do your job, the greater your chances of injuring yourself because of a ladder fall. Your employer has a duty to protect your safety on the job site as much as possible. Teaching you and your colleagues fall prevention and ladder safety is an important part of the job.