Every year, over 4,000 Australians are hospitalised following a fall from a ladder, with men aged 60-64 being the most susceptible. A recent ladder study conducted by Neuroscience Research Australia (NueRA) found that unsafe ladder use was more common in males especially those with a low fear of falling.
What you need to know
In Australia, 80% of hospitalisations due to injurious ladder falls are male. Unsafe ladder behaviour is more common among men, with most accidents occurring when climbing while holding items, standing higher than recommended set height, and overreaching while using a ladder. A fall from a ladder can cause serious injury, disability, and in some cases death.
Positioning the ladder correctly and following safety instructions can help avoid overreaching, which is a common cause of loss of balance while using a ladder. Having someone assist you by passing items to you can also help avoid overreaching.
Remember as we age our bodies decline; this includes our vision, sensations, strength, reaction times, and balance. Recognising our limits and being realistic about our physical ability can reduce the risk of falls.
Our tips for using a ladder safely
Plan ahead and ensure the ladder is sturdy. Reading the warning labels and safety instructions to ensure proper setup and use.
Have someone assist you by passing items so you do not overreach.
Avoid distractions when using a ladder to keep focused on what you are doing.
Wear comfortable shoes with non-slip soles.
Ensure you always have at least three points of contact with the ladder, for example two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot.