March was Ladder Safety Month with the American Ladder Institute raising awareness on the importance of safety to prevent ladder-related accidents and fatalities at home and on the job. Let’s review some of the ladder and scaffolding safety basics for construction workers.
An estimated 65% of the construction industry works on scaffolding or ladders on a daily basis. Falls from this equipment account for about 15% of all construction accident fatalities each year, as well as at least 20,000 injuries in the industry as a whole. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 80% of fall injuries by construction workers that result in a visit to the emergency room involved a ladder.
Accidents involving ladders and scaffolding frequently result in severe or permanent injuries such as broken bones and fractures, back and neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and paralysis. Some of the most common reasons for ladder- and scaffolding-related injuries, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), are as follows:
- Defects in the ladder or scaffold
- Excess equipment weight load
- Failure to secure the ladder or scaffold
- Faulty design or defective materials
- Lack of adequate safety equipment such as guardrails or harnesses
- Lack of qualified supervision