Safety Tips for Seniors: Ladder Fall Risks

Safety Tips for Seniors: Ladder Fall Risks
Safety Tips for Seniors: Ladder Fall Risks teaser

15 Aug 2019


In Australia, over 4,000 of us fall from or with a ladder, resulting in serious injuries – some of them lifelong or instantly fatal. 1,600 people over the age of 65 were hospitalised due to ladder related injuries in Australia, most occurring during routine home maintenance or DIY projects. Unfortunately, this number is increasing.

The lasting impact of a ladder related injury not only effects the person injured, but their family and community. Here is a guide to ensuring your ladder is as safe as possible when using it around the house or on a worksite.

Ladder choice

The first step towards ensuring you’re safe on a ladder is the choice of ladder. Using a stepladder or stool to reach high up places is unsuitable. If one must strain or bend awkwardly to complete a task, a larger ladder is required. Aluminium ladders are usually good for DIY or housework, but if you’re working around live wires or heat will, you’ll need to invest in a fibreglass ladder such as Backsafe’s Fiberglass Platform Ladder from STURGO.

Ladder stability and setup

The general rule for ladder stability is to rest it at a manageable angle against a stable wall, such as wood or brick or steel. If you need to use a ladder without a wall, ensure you are using an A-Frame ladder or one with a scaffold system.

Before you mount the ladder, ensure these contacts are stable, without any wobble or flex. If you notice any instability, another approach may be required. You should also take note of any weight restrictions, usually printed on the sides of most ladders. If you can, have a spotter hold the ladder and hand you necessary tools instead of carrying them up the ladder yourself. If you can’t, use a tool belt instead.

Proper climbing technique

You should not climb any ladder using your toes on rungs or steps. You should place the middle of your foot on the rungs or steps for maximum stability. You should always maintain three points of contact with your ladder – two feet and one hand, two hands and one foot, etc. You should also avoid climbing ladders when wet or windy – wait for better conditions before attempting your job.

Take your time – nothing is more important than your health

Most falls and slips occur when people are rushing and moving faster than they should. Everyone should take their time to ensure their safety is always looked after. Taking shortcuts, forgetting to maintain three points of contact, or carrying bulky items up a ladder can result in disaster – injuries that are thoroughly preventable. Know your limits and work within your ability. If what you have on hand can’t do the job, consider hiring a professional with specialised equipment.​Checkout our Ladder Safety Checklist to help ensure you are safely using your ladder.

To find out more about ladder safety for seniors or see our range of heavy duty ladders, contact Backsafe Australia today on 1300 305 314.

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