Analysis of data from three surveillance systems showed that in 2011, work-related ladder fall injuries (LFIs) resulted in 113 fatalities, an estimated 15,460 nonfatal injuries that involved more than one day away from work, and an estimated 34,000 nonfatal injuries treated in emergency departments. Workers who are male, Hispanic, older, self-employed, work in smaller establishments, and work doing construction and extraction or installation, maintenance, and repair experience higher LFI rates.
The findings of this study reinforce the need for workplace safety research to prevent falls, including developing and disseminating innovative technologies to prevent LFIs. Employers, health-care providers, and safety professionals should collaborate to ensure availability and training of safe ladder practices.
Among workers, approximately 20% of fall injuries involve ladders.
Among construction workers, an estimated 81% of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) involve a ladder.
To fully characterize fatal and nonfatal injuries associated with ladder falls among workers in the United States, CDC's NIOSH analyzed data across multiple surveillance systems: 1) the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), 2) the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), and 3) the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–occupational supplement (NEISS-Work).
Men and Hispanics had higher rates of fatal and nonfatal LFIs compared with women and non-Hispanic whites and persons of other races/ethnicities. LFI rates increased with age, except for injuries treated in EDs. Fatality rates were substantially higher for self-employed workers than salary/wage workers. Establishments with the fewest employees had the highest fatality rates.
The construction industry had the highest LFI rates compared with all other industries. Across all industries, the highest fatal and nonfatal LFI rates were in the following two occupation groups: construction and extraction (e.g., mining) occupations, followed by installation, maintenance, and repair occupations. Head injuries were implicated in about half of fatal injuries (49%), whereas most nonfatal injuries involved the upper and lower extremities for employer-reported and ED-treated nonfatal injuries.