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Are ladder falls common in the workplace?

For years, falling off ladders on the job has remained a leading cause of injuries and even workplace fatalities, according to studies done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Roughly one-fifth of employee falls involve a ladder. In a single year studied, there were 113 worker deaths attributed to falls off of ladders, with nearly 15,500 injuries serious enough to require the injured employee to miss at least a day of work. Approximately another 34,000 injured workers sought treatment in hospital emergency rooms after tumbling off a ladder.

Certain demographic and ethnic groups were more at risk of getting hurt in a ladder fall, including:

-- Hispanics

-- Males

-- Older workers

Miners, construction workers, installers and repair and maintenance personnel also have an enhanced risk of being injured on the job in this way.

The good news is that the majority of ladder fall injuries and deaths are preventable with proper training by employers and the use of safety equipment by the workers.

Below are some steps to reduce risks on the job:

-- When ladder alternatives like scaffolds or lifts can be used, employ these methods instead.

-- Complete all possible work at ground level before ascending the ladder.

-- Properly train all workers in ladder safety.

-- Routinely inspect ladders and other accessories and match them appropriately to workers' size, location and tasks.

If your loved one was killed in a ladder fall while on the job, there is nothing that can be done to bring them back. However, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss, their pain and suffering and economic damages.

Source: HealthDay, "Workplace Ladder Falls a Major Cause of Deaths, Injuries: CDC," Robert Preidt, accessed Nov. 24, 2016

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