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A story of impact: NIOSH smart phone application improves ladder safety to reduce falls.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2015-176, 2014 Nov; :1-2
Ladder-related injuries are a persistent, and yet preventable, public health problem with significant economic impact on society. In 2013, approximately 511,000 people in the United States were injured from ladders and treated in hospital emergency departments, doctors' offices, clinics and other medical settings. The financial cost of these injuries was $24 billion, including work loss, medical, legal, liability, and pain and suffering expenses. Falls-from-ladders are a leading cause of fall injury and death in all industries. In 2011, there were 113 deaths from work-related ladder-falls and approximately 34,000 additional nonfatal injuries from work-related ladder-falls treated in hospital emergency departments in the U.S. Among construction workers in the U.S., about 81% of reported fall injuries treated in emergency departments involved a ladder. These injuries can be severe and cause disability, changing the lives of workers and their families. Ladder angle significantly affects ladder stability. Research has suggested that ladder users tend to position extension ladders at suboptimal angles, which increases the risk of ladder slide-out events and associated falls. A ladder set too steeply or too shallow cannot provide safe support. Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH developed, evaluated, and patented a method and technology for positioning extension ladders at an optimal angle. Relevant Information: 1) Among workers in 2011, approximately 20% of the fall from height fatal injuries involved ladders. 2) In 2011, an estimated 15,460 nonfatal ladder-fall injuries reported by employers involved multiple days away from work. 3) About 34,000 nonfatal work-related ladder-fall injuries were treated in emergency departments in 2011.
Safety-research; Ladders; Step-ladders; Fall-protection; Electronic-devices; Computer-software; Injury-prevention; Safety-practices; Work-practices; Sociological-factors; Lost-work-days; Mortality-data; Height-factors; Accident-prevention
Publication Date
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Numbered Publication; Impact Sheet
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2015-176; M112014
NIOSH Division
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Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division