Many professions use ladders as a regular part of their job tasks, and these tools are a necessary and common part of job sites around New York. While these useful devices are often an indispensable part of a job, they also pose a significant safety risk. Falls are one of the most common types of workplace accidents. Falling from a high place like a ladder has the potential to cause severe and devastating injuries.

What happens when someone falls from a ladder while on the job? Businesses should provide their workers with tools that are in good condition, so when safety standards are not met, what options do injured workers have?

Whose Responsibility Is It to Keep Ladders in Good Condition?

Both workers and employers are responsible for ladder safety on a job site.

What are Workers Responsible For?

Workers must ensure they conduct themselves properly while using and when around a ladder. They need to follow safety protocols and procedures when climbing up and down the ladder and when performing a job using the ladder. Workers should inspect the ladder regularly to make sure there is no visible damage that could cause an accident.

What are Employers Responsible For?

Employers are responsible for their employees’ safety, specifically in areas of training and safe equipment. Workers must be provided with proper training to ensure they know how to safely use the equipment and tools on the job site. Employers should also ensure that any tools, such as ladders, are in good working condition and made for the job at hand. If defective equipment is found, employers are responsible for replacing it with a functioning replacement.

Accidents and Injuries Due to Ladders

Falling is not the only type of ladder accident that can occur on a job site. While falls are among the most common, there are other ladder-related accidents that happen regularly at worksites in New York.

Falling Objects

Construction workers using a ladder to reach high locations often need other tools to perform their job, including hammers, saws, paint cans, and wrenches. If these items fall from the ladder and hit someone standing below, serious injury can occur.

Collapsing Ladder

Properly securing a ladder is crucial to ensure it does not topple over and land on someone. However, even if a ladder is stored and supported correctly, damaged equipment can still cause it to fall and injure someone.

The types of injuries that ladder accidents can cause include the following:

  • Broken Bones: Fractures or broken bones are common after a fall from a ladder. While most are not life-threatening, there is substantial pain and recovery time associated with this type of injury.

  • Lacerations: Cuts can range from mild to serious, and the severity of the laceration depends on factors like how high the worker was when they fell and what other items were on the ground where they landed.

  • Internal Injuries: The impact of a fall can cause trauma to the internal organs, as can penetration wounds caused by falling on sharp objects. Vital internal organs can be injured from a fall, so immediate medical attention is needed for these injuries.

  • Spinal Injuries: Damage to the back and neck can easily occur after a fall from a height. These injuries can lead to lifelong and devastating symptoms like chronic pain and paralysis.

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: Head injuries should always be taken seriously as they can lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs have the potential to be catastrophic, causing changes in personality and function.

Fall Protection When Using Ladders

Fall protection measures are a valuable part of safety protocol for ladder work on job sites. Measures like harnesses can prevent the person on the ladder from falling off at a great height. It is also good practice for coworkers to hold a ladder when someone is on it for a brief period of time. Ladders that are especially tall and situated in one place for an extended time can also have cages to prevent workers from falling.

Ladders are especially dangerous when used with other hazardous equipment like scaffolding. Scaffolding on the sidewalks of New York City seems like a permanent fixture in some boroughs and neighborhoods, which is why proper safety measures are critical for keeping workers and the public safe.

If an employer does not promote proper safety practices or provide the necessary equipment for the safe use of ladders, they could be liable if a worker is injured as a result.

Navigating a Construction Injury Case Involving a Ladder

Even workers with years of experience can have a ladder accident, especially if their employer is lax in providing safety measures. Do you think your workplace ladder accident was caused by your employer or manager’s negligence? The Mark E. Seitelman Law Offices have been handling cases for injured New Yorkers for decades. Our compassion for your situation and commitment to your case are unparalleled, and our clients trust us to put their interests first in everything we do. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.