Accidents when doing odd jobs: ladder biggest culprit

Commissioned by the online tool shop Klium, in the spring of 2019, the Dutch agency called VeiligheidNL conducted a study into the causes of accidents during odd jobs. For this, data was collected from a representative sample of 14 Emergency First Aid departments of Dutch hospitals. The research covers the years 2014 – 2018.

An analysis of a total of 58,800 emergency visits over the five years examined leaves no doubt: the ladder is the most dangerous tool for DIYers.

Tool type
Absolute number of accidents Percentage
Saw1800 22,5
Ladder3500 43,75
Drill500 6,25
Hammer500 6,25
Axe100 1,25
Grinding Machine 500 6,25
Other1100 13,75

Except for most accidents, the ladder is also responsible for a large percentage of severe accidents. Further investigation data shows that many injuries classified as “severe injury” by hospitals are the result of a fall.

Causes of ladder accidents

The VeiligheidNL report does not provide a definitive answer about the causes of the accidents, but these three factors probably play a role in most cases:

  • Incorrect placement of the ladder, for example at a dangerous angle against the wall or on an unstable surface.
  • Poor condition of the ladder, such as broken, missing or dirty steps and poorly secured extensions on extension ladders.
  • The physical and mental condition of the handyman.

Recommendations for working safely on a ladder

Klium has a number of tips to prevent accidents with a ladder:

  • Stay alert. You shouldn’t climb a ladder with stress, haste, fear of heights or tiredness.
  • Check the ladder for possible damage and dirt.
  • Place the ladder at a safe angle (75 ° is usually recommended) on a firm, leveled surface.
  • Ask someone to hold the ladder, especially when working at a great height.
  • Climb in a safe way with your face towards the ladder and your center of gravity directly above the step. Place your full foot on the step and always keep three points of contact with the ladder.
  • Move the ladder in time so that you don’t have to reach too far.
  • Do not hold any tools in your hands when climbing, it’s better to wear a tool belt.
  • Because, despite all precautions, something can still go wrong, a type of fall protection is recommended as extra insurance against accidents.
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