What is the leading cause of injuries involving ladders? It’s not what you would think. It doesn’t have anything to do with climbing a ladder or falling off a ladder. Almost 50% of all ladder-related injuries are due to handling- taking the ladder on and off a truck, carrying it to the work site, or losing control of it when setting the ladder up. Who knew, right?! Fortunately, these types of injuries are almost never life-threatening or life-altering. They are however, very painful and very costly. So let’s talk for a minute about some possible solutions to the handling problem:
Ladders are heavy. To reduce strain and sprain injuries from carrying a heavy ladder you can either (a) have more people help carry the ladder, which is not cost or time effective or (b) make the ladder lighter. Little Giant has reduced the weight of a 28’ extension ladder by 20%. And in addition to making the ladder lighter, we’ve also added wheels to many of our models so operators can roll instead of carry them.
Ladders can also be bulky. A 28’ extension ladder is still 14’ long when it’s closed, so finding the right spot to carry it can be tricky. Most people will pick up a bulky ladder and when it starts tip up or down will try to “muscle” it instead of putting it down and re-positioning for a better balance point. Little Giant has addressed this issue by adding balance point stickers to all of our extension ladders. Now all an operator has to do is locate the sticker to know where to lift and carry for a balanced load.
Setting up a heavy, bulky ladder can also be a challenge; it’s easy to lose control of the ladder. Unfortunately, it is not human nature to step back and let it fall. Many times the operator will try to stop or control the fall and can become injured as a result. In addition to building a lighter ladder, Little Giant offers extension ladders equipped with stabilizing outriggers to help prevent tipping. We’ve also added a side-mounted double pulley system to our extension ladders, giving operators a mechanical advantage and greater control when raising and lowering the extension.
So while it can be common to receive strains and sprains from handling heavy ladders, companies such as Little Giant are working hard to offer solutions that will help to reduce the risk of injury and bring operators home safely.