Ladder-Related Accidents Climb in U.S.: Study

SATURDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- The number of ladder-related injuries in the United States increased by more than 50 percent from 1990 to 2005, says a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Researchers at Columbus Children's Hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) in Ohio analyzed national data.

They found that more than 2.1 million people were treated in hospital emergency departments for ladder-related injuries from 1990 to 2005. That averages out to more than 136,000 cases a year.

Almost 10 percent of those 2.1 million people needed to be hospitalized, about twice the overall admission rate for consumer-product related injuries. Males accounted for nearly 77 percent of all ladder-related injuries. Fractures were the most common type of injury, and legs and feet were the most frequently injured parts of the body.

The study also found that, among cases were location was recorded, 97 percent of injuries occurred at homes, farms and other non-occupational settings.

"Individuals using ladders are often not mindful of the severe risks associated with use," study co-author Lara Trifiletti, a principal investigator at CIRP and an assistant professor at Ohio State University's College of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

"Increased public health initiatives that target men and women, especially of working age, could help reduce the number of ladder-related injuries," she said.

"Ladders should be treated with the same respect and caution as any potentially dangerous tool, such as a power saw," co-author Dr. Gary Smith, director of CIRP and an associate professor at Ohio State University's College of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. National Ag Safety Database has more about ladder safety.

SOURCE: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, news release, May 2007

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