Fourteen percent of all work deaths are due to falls, with 34% occurring in construction and 20% being related to the use of ladders, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2012). Falls from ladders in the construction industry are costly beyond the human toll. The latest ?gures compiled by OSHA (2012) indicate that the average workers’ compensation cost of a fall from a ladder or scaffold by a roofer is approximately $68,000 and for carpenters is approximately $62,000.
Even falls from relatively low heights can prove fatal. BLS reports that 20% of fatal falls at work occur from heights less than 15 ft, whereas 50% of fatal falls are from heights under 35 ft.
This article asserts that the proper use of the three-point control ladder climbing strategy could prevent many of these ladder fall injuries and deaths. In addition to discussing principles of effective three-point control, the article reviews recommendations for design and process changes needed to better protect workers using ladders or stairs.
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