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Two different types of ladders

Ladders are part of most home garages and work sheds. But if the ladder is not in good condition or is used inappropriately falls can occur and cause:

  • fractured limbs
  • spinal cord damage 
  • severe brain injury
  • death.

You only have to fall from 1–2 metres off a ladder to suffer serious injuries or death.


When completing do-it-yourself projects around the home, remember that safety comes first for yourself and for others.

Injury case studies

Date commenced: 18th August 2014
1,668 older Australians were hospitalised due to ladder related injuries in 2011-12.
Date commenced: 9th February 2010
Death and serious injuries can occur from using ladders inappropriately or using them when they're in poor condition.


On average, 4.5 Australians — mainly men — die each year after falling from a ladder.

The Australian National Coroners Information System indicates:

  • the average age of people who die in ladder-related accidents is 65 years old
  • 32 per cent  of deaths were in the 70-79 year age group 
  • 96 per cent of fatalities were male 
  • over 85 per cent of deaths occur in non-occupational activities  
  • 34 per cent of these deaths occur during home maintenance activities.

Most men injured or killed after falling from a ladder were at or nearing retirement age and were doing maintenance around the home.

Ladder injury occurs in an older age group than DIY injuries in general — the peak age for DIY injuries is 30-34 years.

In Australians aged 65 or older:

  • during 2011–12, 1,294 men (78 per cent) and 374 women (22 per cent) were hospitalised in Australia as a result of a fall on or from a ladder
  • around 3 in 5 of these falls resulted in a bone fracture (63 per cent)
  • 62 per cent of fall injuries happened in or around the home
  • home outdoor areas were the most common areas where a fall occurred (45 per cent)
  • of cases where the type of work done at the time of injury is known, 85 per cent happened during unpaid work including household maintenance tasks (such as pruning trees, clearing gutters and painting ceilings).

(Based on Australian Institute of Health and Welfare material)

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