NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Extension-ladder safety: solutions and knowledge gaps.
Hsiao-H; Simeonov-P; Pizatella-T; Stout-N; McDougall-V; Weeks-J
Int J Ind Ergon 2008 Nov-Dec; 38(11-12):959-965
Falls from ladders are the second leading cause for work-related fatalities in the US construction industry. A significant portion of these incidents occurs at building-construction-and-maintenance worksites during the use of extension ladders. This paper presents the results of a critical literature review related to: (1) risk factors associated with falls from extension ladders, (2) practical engineering solutions that may reduce fall-from-extension-ladder incidents, and (3) questions pertaining to ladder safety that remain unanswered. The review results show that the underlying causes of falls involving extension ladders include the ladder-base slipping out, ladders tipping, workers slipping while on ladders or transitioning from a ladder to a surface at height, and mechanical failures. Some engineering control measures are available in the literature; yet, significant knowledge gaps remain. The knowledge-gap analysis identified four actions needed to advance ladder-safety practice: (1) research on visual indicators to assist in setting up ladders at the correct angle, (2) developing and evaluating measures to ease the transition from a ladder to a surface at heights, (3) integrating ladder accessories into a convertible design to ease the carrying, assembling, and storing of multiple accessories, and thus to encourage safe practices, and (4) developing a graphic-oriented practical guide for safe ladder use, maintenance, and mechanical-flaw detection.
Ladders; Extension-ladders; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Work-practices; Workplace-studies; Engineering; Equipment-design; Author Keywords: Construction; Accessory; Fall prevention; Slip; Ladder
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Protective Technology Branch, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown WV 26505-2888
Issue of Publication
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division