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26 Sep 2023

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According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 8% of all non-fatal workplace injuries last year were falls from height.

A huge number of falls from height in the workplace are the result of ladder accidents. For example, in the food and drink industries alone, HSE reports indicate that 40% of falls from height (out of 150 falls investigated over three years) were falls from a ladder. Workers fall off ladders more than they fall from any other place.

Ladder accidents are also a key contributor to injuries in the home. The National Accident Helpline says ladders are one of the top household objects likely to be the cause of an injury at home. A survey found that 21% of respondents claimed to have suffered an injury while using a ladder at home.


How many people die from falling off ladders?

The HSE reports that 40 fatal injuries occurred in 2022/23 as a result of falls from height.

It was not reported how many of those 40 deaths were specifically caused by falls from a ladder. However, we have already seen that workers fall from ladders more than from any other location, so it is likely that a sizeable portion of those deadly falls involved ladders.


What are the main causes of ladder injuries?

Some of the top causes of ladder accidents include:

  • Failure to carry out a proper risk assessment. Before using a ladder, you (or your employer) should carry out a thorough risk assessment to determine whether you’ve chosen the right tool for the job. In some cases, a ladder may not be suitable – for example, if you are planning to work at height for hours on end, a scaffold tower may be a safer choice.

  • Using a defective ladder. Always carry out a quick visual inspection before you get on a ladder. If there are any signs of damage, play it safe and get a new ladder instead of risking your safety.

  • Incorrect ladder setup. A ladder is only safe to use if set up correctly in an environment where it is unlikely to move while in use. For example, you should not position your ladder on top of an unstable platform or in front of a doorway. You should also avoid connecting multiple ladders or using a ladder outside of its intended purpose (e.g. using a standard step ladder as a stairwell ladder).

  • Incorrect ladder use. Ladders should only be used by trained employees who understand how to stay safe on ladders. Certain behaviours – such as overreaching to one side, overloading the ladder, or standing on the very top rung – are dangerous and will significantly increase your risk of falling.


For more information and tips on ladder safety, stay up to date with our ladder safety blog. If you require any assistance when purchasing ladders, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Ladders UK Direct team today.


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