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Workplace safety: Estimated 300 fatal ladder accidents per year

The University of Missouri reports that approximately 130,000 individuals suffer injuries in ladder-related incidents every year. Also, the number of fatalities in ladder falls are estimated to be 300 per year. Although proper workplace safety protocols make ladder-accidents preventable, these accidents are among the top 10 most cited Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 40 percent of all fatal falls since 2006 involved ladders. It has been determined that the most common causes of falls from ladders include haste, lack of attention or distractions, and sudden movements. Other aspects that need evaluation include the ladder's condition and placement, along with the age and physical capabilities of the person using the ladder. Appropriate footwear may also help to prevent ladder accidents.

Company owners must ensure that workers are aware of the safety hazards presented by ladders, and, although it might seem like common sense, training must be provided. Workers must learn the three point-of-contact protocol for ascending, descending and working on ladders. At all times, there must be two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot in contact with the ladder. Carrying objects that can compromise the worker's ability to use both hands may be life-threatening.

Missouri workers who are exposed to environments where workplace safety is not prioritized may take comfort in knowing that financial assistance will be available in the event of an on-the-job accident. Injured workers and the surviving family members of workers who have lost their lives may pursue benefits claims through the workers' compensation insurance program. Medical losses are covered, and death benefits, including end-of-life expenses, are provided. Financial packages based on the average weekly wage of the injured or deceased worker may also be awarded.

Source: claimsjournal.com, "Ladder Safety Education Key to Reducing Falls", Denise Johnson, Accessed on June 10, 2016

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