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Many industries require employees to climb ladders to perform their duties. For instance, a retail worker may climb a ladder to put items on a tall shelf, while a construction worker uses ladders to build tall structures. However, injuries from falling off a ladder at work can be devastating, especially if your employer doesn’t promote safe ladder use.
According to the World Health Organization, the United States is the number one country for ladder deaths. Emergency departments throughout the country treat over 160,000 ladder-related injuries annually. Injuries from falling off a ladder cost over $20 billion a year in employment loss, pain and suffering, liability claims, medical costs, and legal expenses.
Falls from ladders could be eligible for workers’ compensation lawsuits, so you’ll need a reliable doctor with experience handling work-related injuries. Workers Comp Doctor has an impressive database of workers’ compensation orthopedic doctors and other specialists in New York who can provide the care you need.
Eight Most Common Injuries From Ladders
Injuries from falling off a ladder at work can vary from a mild cut or bruise to loss of life. Most falls are severe enough to require medical attention and at least one day off work. Below are eight of the most common injuries.
The most common ladder injury is a fracture or broken bone. A 2020 study showed that almost 49% of people who fell from stepladders broke a bone, including their hips.
2. Cuts and Bruises
Injuries from falling off a ladder include damage to your soft tissues. You could cut yourself when hitting the ladder, your tools, or the ground. You could also get a bruise or contusion under the skin on your arm, leg, or torso due to a direct blow to the area.
3. Muscle Sprains and Strains
A fall could damage your soft tissues beyond bruising. For instance, you could overstretch or tear your tendons, ligaments, or muscles. Muscle tears are also possible and can produce long-lasting pain.
4. Neck Injuries
Injuries to your neck or cervical spine can include soft tissues, the spinal cord, and nerves. For instance, a quick fall from a high height at an awkward angle can cause whiplash, resulting in a stiff neck and pain. You could also develop a pinched nerve that sends pain signals through other body parts, like your back or shoulder.
5. Traumatic Brain Injuries
You risk injuring your head and brain when falling off a ladder at work. Traumatic brain injury involves a violent shake of the head or a blow that penetrates brain tissue.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that ranges in severity. However, any brain injury can result in cognitive issues like slurred speech and physical symptoms like convulsions or unbalance.
6. Spinal Cord Injuries
Most people who fall off ladders at work fall from several feet off the ground, leading to significant back injuries. Ladder falls account for less than 10% of spinal cord injuries. However, the damage could occur to the spinal cord or its nearby tissues and nerves, resulting in severe back or extremity pain or paralysis.
Sometimes a high ladder fall can lead to blunt-force trauma. The impact could shatter the spine, sending bone fragments into the spinal cord. This situation is rare but possible, and it can result in paralysis affecting:
- A single limb
- One side of the body
- Both legs and sometimes the torso
- All four limbs
Death is another potential consequence of a workplace ladder fall. In 2020, 161 people died due to a ladder-based injury at work. Most of those cases came from accidents with moveable ladders. However, that same year had over 22,000 non-fatal injuries at worksites, proving the dangers of improperly used or defective ladders.
Are You Liable for Your Ladder-Related Injuries?
Liability for workplace ladder accidents depends on several factors. For example, defective ladders are the responsibility of their manufacturer. Your employer could be responsible for your injuries if they fail to maintain, repair, or replace workplace ladders.
If you are a victim of a ladder-related workplace injury, you could be eligible to recover damages for the fall, including compensation for medical bills and lost wages.
What Factors Contribute to Ladder Accidents?
Falling off a ladder can be the result of various factors, including the following:
- Uneven ground placement: To safely climb any non-fixed ladder, you must place it on firm, even ground. For instance, if you are working on a roof, you should put the ladder on a concrete walk path instead of a soggy lawn.
- A misstep on the bottom rung: An easy way to get injuries from a ladder fall at work is by missing the last rung as you descend. When your foot doesn’t touch the ground when expected, you could quickly lose your balance, fall back, and hurt yourself.
- Using the wrong type of ladder: If you use a short ladder but have to reach a high point, you could unintentionally overreach and fall. You could also break the rungs or rails if you exceed the ladder’s weight limit.
- Climbing a worn or damaged ladder: Your employer must provide safe equipment for employees. They should routinely inspect, maintain, repair, and replace worn or damaged ladders.
Get the Help You Need From Experienced Workers Comp Doctor Near You
If you suffer from a work-related injury, you might search the internet for “workers compensation doctors near me” to find a local physician.
Workers Comp Doctor is a directory of doctors experienced in treating work-related injuries throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Our list includes specialists in various fields, including pain management, orthopedic surgery, physiatry, chiropractic care, and neurology.
Workers Comp Doctor can match you with the appropriate healthcare provider. Doctors in our free directory accept most insurance plans like no-fault, PIP, and workers’ compensation. Contact us today at 888-590-4030. Same-day appointments may be available.
If you suffer a herniated disc at work or other work-related injuries from falling off a ladder, we can help!