Even with a renewed emphasis on ladder safety training, the numbers of ladder-related injuries continues to rise. In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that more than 500,000 people were injured while using a ladder or stepstool. In 2010, the estimate rose to 724,000—that's nearly 2,000 people injured every day. Experts estimate that 100 people will suffer a long-term or permanent disability each day. And one person will die every day.
As I travel around the country speaking about ladder safety, I have the opportunity to meet with groups from different industries and talk about their ladder problems. Some industries face very unique challenges, but most are very similar. Ladder accidents occur because of complacency. People have been climbing ladders since they were little children on the playground, and they don't consider ladders as safety equipment. Another common complaint is that several ladder-related rules are almost impossible to keep and get the work done, so it becomes expected to break the rules. How do you tie off a ladder before you climb it, or how do you to maintain three points of contact while getting the work done? Some of these concerns can be addressed through training, but some need innovation and design changes.