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16 Crucial Ladder Safety Statistics You Need to Know (2023 Update)

Technician holds the slide ladder with white gloves and blue sleeve

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Ladders are commonly used equipment in industrial companies. While OSHA has strict guidelines for ladder safety, many companies often ignore them, leading to injuries and even deaths. As a result, ladder-fall injuries and fatalities make up a significant portion of total general industry company injuries.

Falling from heights is also included in OSHA’s top 10 most prominent violations. In fact, it remains at the top for 12 years consecutively, with 5,260 total violations in 2022 alone. Following the OSHA ladder safety standards can avoid many of these incidents.

So, how many total injuries have been recorded from ladder falls? What are the major causes of ladder accidents? Have ladder-related incidents decreased or increased over the years?

Below we will discuss some crucial ladder safety statistics you should know. We will also review OSHA’s standard guidelines for ladder safety in workplaces.

divider 4 The 16 Ladder Safety Statistics to Know in 2023

  1. Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths all over the world.
  2. Every year, 37.3 million severe falls occur in the world that require medical treatment.
  3. Falls have been a top OSHA violation for more than 12 years.
  4. The private construction industry reported nonfatal injuries and illnesses from falls, slips, and trips at a 31.4 rate per 10,000 full-time employees in 2020.
  5. Ladders violations are also included in the “Top 10 OSHA Violations” list, accounting for 2,143 total violations in 2022.
  6. In 2020, falls from the lower level accounted for 645 deaths and 49,250 injuries.
  7. There were around 161 fatalities and 22,710 injuries reported in 2020 because of ladders.
  8. In 2020, the installation, maintenance, and repair industries reported 5,790 injuries due to ladders.
  9. The construction and extraction occupations reported 5,370 ladder injuries in 2020.
  10. The service industry reported 3,160 ladder injuries in 2020.
  11. In 2020, more than one-third of workplace deaths in the construction industry were because of falls, slips, and trips.
  12. Every year, 24,882 injuries are reported due to stairway and ladder falls in the construction industry.
  13. In the case of ladder injury, the average medical and wage loss cost for every construction worker is around $27,000.
  14. 66% of people injured by ladders are not trained to inspect defects before use.
  15. 53% of ladders causing accidents usually break during use.
  16. 4% of ladders resulting in falls and accidents lack evenly spaced steps.
LADDERFALL-SAFETY-FACTS-&-STATISTICS
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divider 4

General Fall-Related Injuries and Deaths

1. Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths all over the world.

(WHO)

Falls from any height have been a major cause of death in the entire world. Around 684,000 individuals lose their lives globally due to falls. According to the WHO, over 80% of these incidents have been reported in low and middle-income economies.

Construction worker climbing up to the roof of a building with an extension ladder
Image Credit: Lisa F. Young, Shutterstock

2. Every year, 37.3 million severe falls occur in the world that require medical treatment.

(WHO)

Falls can lead to fatalities and severe injuries that require immediate medical attention. This figure makes up almost 38 billion of the total falls occurring worldwide. The elderly are the most vulnerable to losing their lives from fall injuries. The reason could be weakness, loose grip on the ladder, or carelessness.


3. Falls have been a top OSHA violation for more than 12 years.

(National Safety Council)

Since OSHA started publishing its Top 10 Violations list, falls have been leading. In fact, in 2022, the institution recorded 5,260 total violations in the USA.

construction worker fall fronn the ladder
Image Credit: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

4. The private construction industry reported nonfatal injuries and illnesses from falls, slips, and trips at a 31.4 rate per 10,000 full-time employees in 2020.

(BLS)

The private industry reported many injuries and illnesses resulting from trips and slip accidents in 2021. Overall, in the industry the rate was 21.7 per 10,000 full-time employees, while it was at a rate of 31.4 per 10,000 full-time employees in the private construction industry.

divider 1 Falls From a Lower Level (Ladder)

5. Ladders violations are also included in the “Top 10 OSHA Violations” list, accounting for 2,143 total violations in 2022.

(National Safety Council)

The OSHA’s Top 10 Violations list 2022 also included ladder-related injuries caused due to falls, trips, or slips. These accidents are common in workplaces in the US and the entire world.


6. In 2020, falls from the lower level accounted for 645 deaths and 49,250 injuries.

(National Safety Council)

The total deaths from lower-level falls in 2020 contributed a little to the total injuries. However, they still made up quite a lot, with 645 deaths.

Hand Injury
Image Credit: Stefano Ferrario, Pixabay

7. There were around 161 fatalities and 22,710 injuries reported in 2020 because of ladders.

(BLS)

The total ladder-related fatalities were almost 160 in 2020, with the total rate decreasing to 5.8% compared to 2019. Out of 22,710 injuries, 105 deaths were caused due to movable ladders, and five by fixed ones.

divider 1 Ladder Injuries in Different Industries

8. In 2020, the installation, maintenance, and repair industries reported 5,790 injuries due to ladders.

(BLS)

Ladder injuries were reported in many industries in the US in 2020. For example, in one year alone, around 6,000 injuries were recorded in the installation, maintenance, and repair industry.


9. The construction and extraction occupations reported 5,370 ladder injuries in 2020.

(BLS)

The construction and extraction occupations weren’t safe from ladder-related injuries either. The industry reported around 5,370 injuries in 2020, close to the installation, maintenance, and repair industries.

injury at work
Image Credit: WUT.ANUNAI, Shutterstock

10. The service industry reported 3,160 ladder injuries in 2020.

(BLS)

In 2020, around 3,160 ladder injuries were recorded in the service industry. That’s slightly lower than the installation, maintenance, repair, and service industries.


11. In 2020, more than 1/3rd of workplace deaths in the construction industry were because of falls, slips, and trips.

(BLS)

Lower-level falls, slips, and trips accounted for a significant portion of deaths in the construction industry. Although contributing to 1/3rd of the total workplace deaths, they still are a huge cause of fatalities.


12. Every year, 24,882 injuries are reported due to stairway and ladder falls in the construction industry.

(BLS/Moffitt)

The construction industry has the highest rate of injuries from ladders and stairways. Out of 24,882 of the total injuries, 13,312 are non-lost workday injuries, and 11,570 are lost workday injuries.

Workers are installing plasterboard (drywall) for gypsum walls in apartment is under construction
Image Credit: Zakhar Mar, Shutterstock

13. In the case of ladder injury, the average medical and wage loss cost for every construction worker is around $27,000.

(Accident; Analysis and Prevention, 2007)

Ladder injuries consume a lot of medical and wage costs for workers in all industries. For example, the average medical and wage loss cost in the construction industry is about $27,000, which remains the same for most industries.

divider 1 Causes of Ladder Safety Injuries

14. 66% of people injured by ladders are not trained to inspect defects before use.

(BLS/Moffitt)

In many workplaces, ladders are not inspected before handing them over to the workers. Not only that, but the workers are also not given proper training to inspect the ladders on their own. That’s a major OSHA guideline violation, resulting in above 66% of total injuries.


15. 53% of ladders causing accidents usually break during use.

(BLS/Moffitt)

Most of the ladders involved in accidents break down when someone uses them. This includes the steps, base, or fly components of the ladder. In fact, the same research found that 61% of non-self-supporting ladders involved in falls and injuries were not secured at the top, while 53% were not secured from the bottom.

man beside Louisville 6' Fiberglass Step Ladder


16. 4% of ladders resulting in falls and accidents lack evenly spaced steps.

(BLS/Moffitt)

Another major ladder defect is uneven steps, resulting in 4% of total workplace falls and accidents. Again, proper inspection before use can help workers prevent this issue.

divider 1 OSHA Ladder Safety Requirements for General Industry

The OSHA has strict and thorough ladder safety guidelines for the general industry. These were designed to ensure the safety of every worker using a low-level or high-level ladder at any point during their working hours.

A quick summary of the OSHA general industry ladder safety requirements is as follows:
  • When reaching or performing overhead tasks, use a step stool or ladder instead of boxes, bins, and chairs. But only use one step stool or ladder at a time.
  • Choose the right type, height, material, and duty rating of the ladder for the job.
  • Always inspect ladders before and after every work shift. Replace the faulty ones immediately.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions mentioned on the ladder’s label and set and use it accordingly.
  • Ensure the ladder’s balance after climbing on it.
  • Prevent mistakes and safety hazards when using a ladder. For example, ascending your closed ladder.
  • Inform the authorities about ladder damage or defects.
  • Train all workers and staff about the regulations and requirements for ladder safety.

divider 1 Frequently Asked Questions About Ladder Safety

How Many Injuries Do Ladder Falls Cause?

Falls are the second highest cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide (WHO). Every year, stairway and ladder falls result in 24,882 injuries in the construction industry, with 13,312 non-lost and 11,570 workday injuries.

What Is the Major Cause of Ladder Injuries and Fatalities?

The primary cause of ladder injuries and fatalities is the lack of training in people using the equipment. In fact, 66% of people who get injured from ladders are not trained to inspect defects before use (BLS).

man carrying a ladder
Image Credit: Zephyr_p, Shutterstock

What Factors Should I Consider When Selecting a Ladder?

The four most important factors to consider when selecting a ladder include the type of ladder, its length, duty rating, and material.

divider 4 Conclusion

OSHA has strict rules for ladder safety in workplaces and general industries. However, falls and slips from ladders are common among workers in the services, construction, installation, maintenance, and repair industries.

Despite strict regulations, ladder-related injuries and fatalities have been reported not in the US but all over the world in the past few years. So, it’s time we take measures to reduce the rising numbers.


Featured Image Credit: Noraphat Vorakijroongroj, Shutterstock

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