It’s usually fun to win a contest, but here’s one contest we hope you never win: the annual Idiots on Ladders Contest. This dubious distinction is a recognition by the UK’s Ladder Association, which solicits entries all year on their Facebook page. You can see a gallery of photos this year’s “Biggest idiot” along with several runners up at EHS Today, a publication aimed at health & safety safety professionals.
While this might seem like a laughing matter at first glance, the reality is that this “award” is a clever way to call attention to a serious issue. Here in the U.S., falls are the second leading causes of accidental home-related deaths and the leading cause of deaths on construction sites. Many of these are ladder related. Note the statistics from Consumer Reports, Don’t let a ladder be your downfall:
“Whether it’s cleaning your gutters or hanging holiday decorations, you might have to climb a ladder to get the job done this fall. But be careful: Nearly 200,000 emergency-room visits and 300 deaths are linked to ladder accidents every year, and most people who fell didn’t have anybody holding the ladder below them.
The typical accident victim is a 55-year-old man who falls nearly 10 feet, according to a study of more than 27,000 trauma patients published this month in the Journal of Surgical Research. Reaching too far and placing the ladder in the wrong spot are the most common causes of those accidents. “
Don’t try to win this award! If you use ladders at home, there are many great buying guides, safety tips and free ladder safety training programs online – many ladder manufacturers offer great resources. You can find safety information with simple search, but we’ve picked out a few.
Ladder buying guide – Consumer Reports
Ladder Safety – detailed tips from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors – a good guide for home repair
Portable Ladder Safety – OSHA
Do’s and Don’ts of Ladder Climbing – a pictorial guide from Werner
Ladder Safety Posters from Worksafe BC – intended for work, but good visuals for homeowners too