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Effects of foot placement, hand positioning, age, and climbing biodynamics on ladder slip outcomes.
Pliner EM; Campbell-Kyureghyan NH; Beschorner KE
Ergonomics 2014 Nov; 57(11):1739-1749
Ladder falls frequently cause severe injuries; yet the factors that influence ladder slips/falls are not well understood. This study aimed to quantify (1) the effects of restricted foot placement, hand positioning, climbing direction and age on slip outcomes, and (2) differences in climbing styles leading to slips versus styles leading to non-slips. Thirty-two occupational ladder users from three age groups (18-24, 25-44 and 45-64 years) were unexpectedly slipped climbing a vertical ladder, while being assigned to different foot placement conditions (unrestricted vs. restricted toe clearance) and different hand positions (rails vs. rungs). Constraining foot placement increased the climber's likelihood of slipping ( p < 0.01), while younger and older participants slipped more than the middle-aged group ( p < 0.01). Longer double stance time, dissimilar and more variable foot and body positioning were found in styles leading to a slip. Maintaining sufficient toe clearance and targeting ladder safety training to younger and older workers may reduce ladder falls. Practitioner Summary: Ladder falls frequently cause severe occupational fall injuries. This study aims to identify safer ladder climbing techniques and individuals at risk of falling. The results suggest that ladders with unrestricted toe clearance and ladder climbing training programmes, particularly for younger and older workers, may reduce ladder slipping risk.
Ergonomics; Ladders; Fall-protection; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Climbing; Motion-studies; Age-factors; Age-groups; Biomechanics; Biodynamics; Body-mechanics; Body-regions; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Physiology; Author Keywords: ladder falls; climbing biomechanics; aging; slips, trips and falls
Kurt E. Beschorner, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Grant-Number-R21-OH-010038; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008672; M082014
Issue of Publication
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
WI; PA; IL
University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
Page last reviewed: June 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division