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Ladder falls common and deadly for Illinois workers

Soon the spring weather will fade into an Illinois summer, most likely increasing the number of construction employees working outside. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one of the most commonly-used pieces of equipment for construction workers can be dangerous and even deadly: the ladder.

The study reports that it is far too easy to fall off of a ladder and that more than 40 percent of fatal falls over the past 10 years are those that involved a ladder. Unintentional injuries on a construction site can largely be prevented by appropriate safety gear and training, but ladders remain a problematic piece of equipment for even trained employees. Construction worker accidents, it seems, come far too often from ladder falls.

When looking specifically at workplace injuries, one-fifth of all fall injuries involve ladders, and the majority of those falls require a trip to the emergency room. According to the research study, certain types of employees are more at risk than others. Of course, construction workers faced the highest chance of falling off a ladder and sustaining injury. Additionally, the rate of falls increased with the age of the employee.

Workers who fall off a ladder may feel only minor pain right away, but it’s important not to write off the impacts of a big fall. Other problems, like concussions, may not present symptoms immediately. In fact, head injuries were noted in nearly half of all fall injuries reported in this study. Ladder falls may lead to long-term health problems and workers’ compensation claims. It is for this reason that victims of workplace injuries or falls may benefit from speaking with an attorney. Workers may be eligible to receive compensation for their injuries which can help them cover the costs of medical bills, medication and lost wages.

Source: EHS Today, "CDC: there's nothing 'easy' about falling off a ladder," Sandy Smith, May 2, 2014

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