What to know about falls from ladders at a construction site

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Construction Accidents

What to know about falls from ladders at a construction site

Many elements of construction work may expose someone to dangerous work conditions. Many job responsibilities require workers to reach elevated locations. In some cases, there is semi-permanent structural support in the form of scaffolding, or something similar, available. Many other times, construction professionals in a variety of different specializations rely on ladders.

Ladders of various sizes and styles can help in both indoor and exterior environments and can provide a cost-effective and adjustable means of accessing elevated areas. They are easy to acquire and require minimal training to use safely. Unfortunately, workers can potentially fall from a ladder and could end up seriously hurt.

Falls involving ladders happen every day

According to federal workplace safety statistics, falls involving ladders occur thousands of times each year, with more than 22,000 people injured in ladder accidents each year. Given that many construction crews use old and/or defective ladders for a variety of purposes, and do not always follow the best ladder safety practices consistently, ladder-related incidents are some of the more common underlying causes of severe injuries among workers.

Ladder-related falls are generally preventable

There are safety devices to help secure the top and bottom of a ladder to prevent slipping or toppling of a ladder.. And ladders should not be placed on uneven surfaces. Proper maintenance of the ladders themselves can also be crucial for worker safety. Unsteady ladders with worn or improper footing, or defective hinges/parts (especially concerning A-frame ladders) should never be used. A ladder should never shake, wobble, or in any other way move while in use. When construction companies do not provide the right safety equipment, a ladder fall resulting in injury becomes much more likely.

Workers can suffer many types of injuries

A fall can trigger a variety of different serious physical injuries. Some people break bones. Others may develop traumatic brain injuries. Spinal cord injuries are also possible. Any of these injuries could be serious enough to put someone in the hospital for surgeries on a worker’s joints (knees, shoulders, wrists, ankles, neck, back, etc). In some cases, an injured worker may require an extended leave of absence from their job. In the worst cases, falls from ladders may prove fatal or may leave workers with permanent injuries that force them to change professions or stop working entirely for the rest of their lives.

When otherwise preventable ladder falls occur, the injured worker may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, costs of medical treatment, lost wages and other related economic losses. Seeking legal guidance to understand the ins and outs of a particular accident victim’s options is critical in this regard. This is especially true in New York given that the New York State Labor Laws provide strict liability against certain property owners, general contractors, and their applicable agents, for most construction worker injuries caused by falls from ladders.