A new national education campaign encourages Australian men to consider their safety and avoid engaging in risky ladder use.
Every year, 1,600 men aged over 65 are hospitalised with ladder-related injuries, most occurring during home maintenance and DIY work.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe explained that injuries from ladder falls can be life-altering for both the injured person and their family.
“After a fall, many men have difficulty adjusting back into their lives, being less mobile or independent and less able to work around the home.”
Men with significant injuries are often forced to rely on family members to become their carers.
“Most Australian men already know how to use a ladder safely, so this campaign is all about reminding men to be safe when working around the house. It only takes a moment for a life to change,” Mr Stowe said.
Campaign spokesperson Dr Owen Roodenburg, Head of the Trauma Intensive Care Unit at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, said almost every ladder injury was preventable.
“Often it’s a split-second decision, something the man knows is a risky shortcut, that lands them in hospital,” Dr Roodenburg said.
“Of those admitted to hospital, one third need intensive care. Shockingly, a quarter of these intensive care patients die, and of those who do survive, over half are not well enough to live at home after 12 months.
“The figures show just how serious a fall from a ladder can be and should be a sobering reminder for older Aussie men to stop and think before doing something risky on a ladder.
“It’s very important to maintain three points of contact at all times and not overreach.”
Following some simple ladder safety tips can drastically reduce the risk of injury:
- Choose the right ladder for the job.
- Don’t work in wet or windy conditions.
- Take time to set up your ladder.
- Work safely up the ladder.
- Have another person hold the ladder.
- Know your limits and work to your ability.
SafeWork NSW offers a range of free guidance material for those use ladders in their workplace including a short video with tips on how to use ladders safely and reduce the risk of injury. Visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50 for advice and assistance.
For more information and to watch the stories of ladder fall victims, visit www.productsafety.gov.au/laddersafetymatters.