Ladder falls can kill or cause life-long injuries

WorkSafe WA has released an announcement in regards to concern over the physical and psychological effects ladder falls have on seniors in our community has prompted a national safety education campaign to highlight the dangers.

The campaign encourages older men to consider the consequences before engaging in risky ladder use, which may include serious debilitating injuries or even death.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said about 1,600 men aged over 65 were hospitalised annually with ladder-related injuries in Australia, with most occurring while doing DIY and maintenance work at home.

“Most men already know how to use a ladder safely, so this campaign is all about reminding them to do so,” Mr Hillyard said.

“The lasting impact of a ladder fall on both the injured person and their family is significant, and often the consequences go beyond the injuries themselves.

“Many men have difficulty adjusting to life after a fall, being less mobile or independent, and less able to do their own work around their home.

“The burden on families can also be significant, with family members turning carer for their injured husband, father or brother.”

The campaign features the stories of three ladder fall victims, and chronicles their fall, recovery and life after their ladder injury.

“Almost every ladder injury or death is preventable. Often it’s a split-second decision, something the man knows is a risky shortcut, that lands them in hospital,” the Acting Commissioner said.

“Of those admitted to hospital, one third need intensive care. Shockingly, a quarter of these intensive care patients die, and of those who do survive, over half are not well enough to live at home after 12 months.

“The figures show just how serious a fall from a ladder can be and should be a sobering reminder for older Aussie men to stop and think before doing something risky on a ladder.

“It’s very important to maintain three points of contact at all times and not overreach.”

Following some simple ladder safety tips can drastically reduce the risk of injury:

  • Choose the right ladder for the job
  • Don’t work in wet or windy conditions
  • Take time to set up your ladder
  • Work safely up the ladder
  • Comply with instructions regarding stable placement and weight capacity
  • Have another person hold the ladder
  • Know your limits and work to your ability

For more information, go to the WorkSafe WA website – www.commerce.wa.gov.au