Many of us underestimate just how deadly falls from ladders can be. According to a recent article in The Ledger, ladders were a factor in 43% of all fatal falls over the past decade. Furthermore, falls from ladders were the number-one cause of work-related deaths and injuries in the construction industry. Ladders are used by all types of workers: construction workers, electricians, painters, custodians, store employees who are stocking shelves, etc. They are also regularly used by individuals who are trying to get regular household tasks done, such as changing a light bulb or hanging up Christmas lights. Anyone who is using a ladder should make sure to use safety precautions so that injuries can be avoided.
The Ledger cited the following safety tips from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:
- Make sure the ladder is placed on a surface that is both level and firm.
- Check for any hinges, screws or rungs on the ladder that may be loose.
- Look for any liquids or mud on the ladder that needs to be cleaned off.
- There should be one foot of distance from the wall for every four feet of the ladders' height. However, avoid placing the ladder so far away that you have to lean excessively while on the ladder.
- Be sure that any locks or braces on the ladder are set in place before you use it.
The article also provided a link to the American Ladder Institute's website www.laddersafety.org, which has additional safety tips. While it is true that many people cause their own ladder injuries because of their lack of caution, there are also many other cases in which the falls are actually caused by ladder defects. These tend to be design or manufacturing defects. For example, the ladder may be too wobbly, the rungs may be too far apart to be safe, there may be a defective latch that causes the ladder to collapse, etc.
When a person is injured by a ladder defect, he or she has the right to seek compensation for his or her damages from the at-fault party (usually the ladder manufacturer). At Lilly, O'Toole & Brown, LLP, we have personal injury attorneys who can handle your claim. As a personal injury law firm that serves clients throughout Central Florida, we have offices in Lakeland, Lake Wales, Winter Haven, Bartow, Wauchula, Haines City and Sebring. Contact our firm today!