Even though ladders have been around for most of recorded history, they haven't changed much in function and design since their primitive origins. This simple design is so practical almost everyone uses it; on the other hand, it is so basic it is also easy to misuse and can be dangerous.
Falling from height is one of the leading causes of work-related injuries and death. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics documents nearly 750 fall-related fatalities a year and another 300,000 nonfatal falls. More surprising than even that? Every single fall is 100-percent preventable.
This month is National Ladder Safety Month, but ladder safety is a year-round priority at NIOSH where scientists study how to prevent ladder-related falls. In a new study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics, a “walk-through” ladder was comparable in safety to regular ladders tested in the NIOSH Virtual Reality Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia.
When it comes to ladder safety, avoiding fines and fatalities is a big concern. Three of OSHA’s top ten “serious” violations in 2015 were related to falls. Every day, one person dies in a ladder-related accident. Fall prevention is a focal point for safety leaders.