Ladder safety for older residents

Ladder Safety Matters

  • Ladders are dangerous. They are associated with more deaths and injuries than any other household product.
  • In recent years there has been a significant increase in ladder fall injuries in the home, contrary to the reducing trend of ladder falls in the workplace.
  • Men aged 60 years and older are most likely to suffer serious injuries from a ladder fall.
  • Most people know ladders are dangerous, but occasionally still take a risk or shortcut.
  • When using a ladder, make safety matter.

The Department of Health & Human Services and Consumer Affairs Victoria have joined a national campaign, which aims to reduce serious injury from domestic ladder falls by encouraging older men to:

  • practice safe ladder use (such as taking the time to set up the ladder correctly, and not using the ladder on wet or uneven ground or over-reaching while on the ladder)
  • consider the consequences of unsafe ladder use (which may include serious injuries, loss of independence, or even death).

The campaign highlights 3 personal video-stories:

  1. Mick - an active retiree who fell from a ladder while trimming a hedge in his garden. He suffered broken ribs, head and spinal injury and was confined to bed in a neck brace for over two months. A year after the incident he still suffers severe pain which limits his daily activities.
  2. Paul - made the most of his retirement by painting the exterior of his house, when he over-reached and fell more than 2 meters from a ladder. He suffered fractured ribs and pneumothorax and has ongoing back pain and post-traumatic stress.
  3. Nick - a very hands-on European migrant who did everything himself, fell from a ladder while investigating a leaky roof. He fractured his back and suffered spinal stenosis and a subdural brain haematoma, spent nearly 6 months in hospital with complications. 5 years later he has not fully recovered from his injuries and is now dependent on his wife and older son in everything he does.

** The 3 video-stories have also been translated into community languages, including Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Punjabi, Turkish and Vietnamese.

 
Almost every ladder injury is preventable; tips for safe ladder use:
  • Make sure your ladder is safe and right for the job
  • Work in the right conditions
  • Take time to set your ladder up safely
  • Work safely up the ladder
  • Know your limits

 Visit the Better Health Chanel for more detailed ladder safety tips and to watch the translated video-stories.