ambulanceI’ve fallen off ladders at my house twice in the last month which has inspired me to do a post about falls and injuries. The #1 reason people show up in Arizona emergency rooms is from slipping, tripping or stumbling on something.  Falls are the #2 cause of accidental death in Arizona…with 870 deaths recorded last year (overdoses from prescription painkillers is the leading cause of accidental death). Last year there were 122,187 visits to AZ emergency departments from falls.  According to the CDC 20% – 30% percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as fractures, head traumas and lacerations.

Ladder falls are a persistent source of injury in many jobs and in the home. Falls are the number one cause of construction-worker fatalities, with falls from ladders a common yet preventable construction injury.  Health services and the wholesale and retail industries have the largest number of non-fatal fall-related injuries.

Ladder accidents are common during home maintenance and repair when people access higher places in the home such as cutting away trees and prepping for the monsoon season (I fell while turning off my cooler for the season and trimming mesquite branches off of our internet connection wire). It’s no surprise that in Arizona men between 45 and 65 are responsible for 77% of ladder falls (so I’ve done my part for the year).

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released its first smart phone app for mobile devices aimed at improving extension ladder safety by providing real-time safety information delivered via the latest technology.  The AZ Stop Falls Coalition helps coordinate existing efforts, provides technical assistance and increases the opportunities for older adults to enhance their quality of life.  You can also take a look at these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission about how to use a ladder safely… or simply use some good old-fashioned common sense.