Recent data on ladder falls has shown a steep rise in ladder fall injuries over the past decade by almost 47%, the vast majority of which are non-workplace accidents, occurring in the home. This disturbing trend highlights the importance of being safety conscious with ladder use as well as making sure you choose a ladder with all the appropriate safety features. In this guide, Attic Group aims to help readers understand the risks of ladder use and how to stay safe around ladders.
Ladder Fall Rise a Disturbing Trend
Nearly 5000 Australians per year are now being hospitalised from ladder related injuries, according to a recent report published by the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. This represents a 47% increase over the decade from 2002/03 to 2011/12. Around 80% of these injuries were non-workplace related and mostly occurred around the home.
Older men aged over 60 years are most at risk, with 82% of ladder fall fatalities being man aged 60 and over, according to the study. Males are generally more susceptible to injury at a rate of 33.8 per 100,000, while for females the rate is 7.9 per 100,000. The rate for injuries t males
While broken arms and legs were the most common injuries sustained from ladder use (around 36%), head and thorax injuries accounted for around 12% each of ladder related accidents over the 10-year period.
Main Causes of Ladder Fall Injuries
While the study doesn’t cover the causes of ladder fall injuries, the researchers have been conducting interviews with victims at emergency departments. Some of the correlating trends that could be identified are: overreaching, inappropriate footwear, carrying things up ladders and using the top rung and placing ladders on unstable/unlevel ground.
It is also speculated that a rise in DIY home improvement renovations has contributed to the increase in ladder related injuries, but the statistics affecting older men as the major risk group also suggests that an ageing population finding it necessary to maintain their homes is behind the surge.
Attic Ladder Safety Tips
As a leading supplier of attic ladders in Australia, the steep climb in ladder related injuries in the home is of great concern to Attic Group. Being in the business of attic/loft ladders for more than 40 years, ladder safety is something that is never far from our thoughts, so we’d like to share some very important safety tips with you so that you and those close to you can avoid serious injury from using ladders.
Choose the Right Ladder for the Job
Using the appropriate ladder for your particular use is vital to your safety. If you are accessing your internal roof space for example, a standard step ladder is not ideal. An attic ladder that is especially designed for internal roof access that is permanently attached to your access hatch means that the ladder will remain fixed in place and won’t shift balance as you climb it. Choosing a quality attic ladder over a cheap one will ensure that it will maintain its structural integrity over the long term, as well as include safety features that exceed the minimum standards. Attic Group specialist staff are available share their knowledge with you to help you choose the right ladder for your specific situation, as well as point out the safety features built into all our products.
Avoid Overloading with Heavy Items When Using Ladders
Carrying excessively heavy items up and down ladders significantly increases your risk of losing balance and falling. Attempting to carry items that are top heavy otherwise has an imbalance of weight distribution can also cause falls. It is best to avoid storing such items in your roof space if you access it with a ladder.
Slow Down When Climbing and Descending from Ladders
It is easy to forget about safety when you’re in a rush, but the risk isn’t worth it. Take your time when climbing up and down ladders so that you can be mindful of your footing and balance. Racing up and down can make you more likely to not concentrate on balance or slip from the rungs, with possibly horrific consequences.
Make Use of Safety Handrails
Most attic ladders have built-in handrails to steady you as you climb them. At least one hand should grip the handrail as you climb it to avoid losing your balance.
Get Your Attic Ladder Installed Professionally
An improperly installed attic ladder can seriously compromise its safety. Ideally you should get a specialist who is experienced with installing attic ladders to ensure that it has been done correctly and to the specifications set by the manufacturer. Attic Group offers professional attic ladder installation, which is a recommended choice for people who buy our attic ladders, since our team have intimate knowledge of our products, you can be confident that the installation complies with the highest standards. Our install service is available directly from Attic Group in Sydney and Melbourne and through our distributors in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and major regional centres.
Taking Ladder Safety Seriously
At the Attic Group, safety is paramount. All of our ladders have a gentle incline making climbing easier and have a counter balance mechanism to make operations and folding away effortless. Safety handrails and support for up to 700kg also ensures the highest safety standards for our customers.
While our attic ladder products have many safety features built in and are thoroughly safety checked, the use of ladders is never 100% risk free and still depends on safe behaviour from the user. If you have any questions at all about how to safely use an attic ladder to reduce your risk of injury, contact a consultant at Attic Group today.