Types of Ladder Accidents and Their Impact on Workers
New York City workers’ compensation lawyers explain why ladder accidents happen
Workplace accidents involving falls from a ladder often result in serious injuries or fatalities. This is why employers need to take precautions to prevent ladder accidents. In addition, it’s important for workers to understand why ladder accidents happen, how such accidents can impact them and the legal and medical options available to injured workers.
If you’ve been injured in a workplace ladder accident, it’s critical that you have a New York workers’ compensation attorney who understands how this system works. In New York City, the legal team at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP can help you every step of the way.
How common are ladder accidents?
Each year on average, more than 300 people die and over 500,000 sustain serious injuries in accidents involving ladders, according to the American Ladder Institute.
About half of those fatalities happen at work; in 2020, for example, there were 161 on-the-job fatalities sustained in ladder accidents, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Types of workplace ladder accidents
- Incorrect extension ladder setup angle, which accounts for roughly 40 percent of all ladder accident injuries, according to the S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, the extension ladder often slides out of the base due to the wrong setup angle, which can be catastrophic since extension ladders can reach up to 72 feet in the air.
- Falls from ladders.
- Unstable ladders, whether due to not being properly placed or secured, or due to a defect in the ladder itself.
Why do workplace ladder accidents happen?
- Improper ladder setup, such as not placing the ladder on firm, level ground or not securing it properly.
- Incorrect use of ladder.
- Employers not providing training on how to safely use a ladder.
- Employers not providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as harnesses and proper footwear.
- Defective ladders.
- Poorly maintained ladders.
What are common ladder accident injuries?
Injuries caused by ladder accidents can be severe and often require extensive medical treatment, including emergency medical care and surgery. Such injuries include:
- Head injuries, including concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
- Neck injuries, including neck fractures.
- Back injuries, including herniated discs, spinal cord injuries and paralysis, especially if the fall from a ladder was from a great height.
- Broken bones, including bone fractures in the arm, hand and leg.
- Internal injuries, including organ damage.
Many of these injuries can cause chronic pain or permanent disability. And unfortunately, some ladder accidents result in fatalities, especially if workers fall on their head or neck.
Which jobs have the most ladder accidents?
While construction work might be the industry many people associate with ladder accidents, many other workers face a high risk of injury due to falls from a ladder. According to BLS workplace accident data, ladder accidents most often occur in the following industries:
- Installation, maintenance and repair work.
- Construction and extraction work.
- Service work, which includes retail, leisure and hospitality.
- Sales-related work.
- Transportation and material moving.
What laws apply to ladder accidents in New York?
Many state and federal laws apply to the use of ladders in the workplace. In the case of construction work, there are several federal laws created by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) that apply to ladders, including OSHA Standard 1926 Subpart X (stairways and ladders).
Several New York laws apply to ladder safety and workplace safety more generally. New York Labor Law 240, which is also known as the “Scaffold Law,” requires construction site owners and general contractors to use appropriate protection for workers at height, including workers on ladders.
Who investigates ladder accidents in New York City?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident and which industry someone works in, various city, state or federal agencies may be involved in the workplace accident investigation. Such agencies may include OSHA at the federal level and the New York City Department of Buildings at the local level.
In addition, a company itself or its insurance company will likely investigate any workplace accident. This is why you should have an experienced workplace accident lawyer investigating your ladder injury as well. That way, you can make sure your rights are respected and that you receive the financial compensation you rightfully deserve for your ladder accident.
What support is available for workers injured in ladder accidents?
If you got hurt in a workplace ladder accident in New York, you should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits to help pay for your medical care and lost income, regardless of fault for the accident.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party (a company other than your direct employer), such as a subcontractor, a general contractor, or the manufacturer of the ladder. Such a third-party claim can cover losses not covered by workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering.
The best way to know more about your legal options is to talk to a New York City workplace accident lawyer who’s familiar with the local, state and federal laws that apply to ladder accidents.
Why should I hire a New York City workers’ compensation attorney?
Ladder accidents in New York City often result in serious injuries that require extensive medical care or even emergency medical treatment. This is why there are so many rules and regulations that apply to the use of ladders in the workplace.
But even if your ladder accident is being investigated by a government official at the federal, state or local level, their investigation only focuses on whether any workplace safety laws were violated. Such investigations have nothing to do with financial compensation for injury victims.
This is why it’s critical that you have a legal advocate on your side, looking out for your best interests. Our New York City workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP can help you every step of the way. We have decades of experience successfully handling injury claims and lawsuits involving ladder accidents and falls from a height in New York City. As a result, we thoroughly understand how the legal system works when it comes to such complex legal cases.
Get the New York law firm that works hard for injured workers. Contact us and schedule an appointment with a New York City work injury attorney you can count on after your ladder accident.
Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, “Types of Ladder Accidents and Their Impact on Workers.”