The festive season is a time to cheer and be merry, but some fall-related injuries can put a dampener on the cheerful revelries, especially when a family member is rushed to the emergency room for a serious injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied data available from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) between 2000 and 2003. The study estimated that nearly 17,465 people were admitted to emergency departments of U.S. hospitals for decorating-related falls. Nearly 43 percent of these injuries were caused because of falls from ladders, with 40 percent men more likely to be injured than women.
Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) revealed that the number of cases of holiday-related injuries rose from 12,000 in 2009 to 15,000 in 2012 — averaging nearly 250 injured people every day between November and January. Injuries typically include back strains, scratches, and falls but, there are also more severe consequences in some cases, which may result in death.
Why Do Ladders Pose A Fall Hazard During The Festive Season?
In the days leading up to and after the festive season, many families get ready to hang Christmas lights outdoors, indoors and on trees, which is why they use ladders more often than other times of the year. Unfortunately, the revelry of these activities often come with the risk of a fall injury as people lose their balance and hit the ground from the ladder. These accidents can end up being extremely serious because people fall several feet to the ground, resulting in injuries like:
- Broken necks
- Back injuries
- Brain damage
- Skull fractures
- Broken bones
- Scratches and scrapes
One of the biggest issues with ladders is that they are often shorter than the rooftop, so people lose their balance when trying to descend back onto them by trying to close this gap when getting off roofs during the decorating process. Another issue is the fact that ladders tend to be wobbly at the bottom, so people can easily lose balance even with a small nudge.
Apart from ladders, holiday-related injuries may occur through lights, trees, ornaments, candles, heaters, lanterns and much more, so make sure you are extra cautious during this season to avoid any long-term repercussions.
Safety Tips For Holiday Merriment Minus The Injuries
People can fall off ladders while climbing towards roofs and walls or decorating trees. Here are some ladder safety tips to enjoy the holiday without having to deal with the injuries that go with it:
- Make sure the ladder is on a stable and even surface before getting on and off it.
- The maximum load is able to withstand your weight and any items you carry while you’re on the ladder.
- Be sure to have someone around to support the bottom of the ladder to prevent it from tipping over when you’re on it.
- Wear comfortable shoes with strong grips before climbing up and down the ladder.
- Do not carry too many heavy loads at a time when climbing up or down the ladder because you risk losing your balance.
- Stay in the center when climbing up or down the ladder to avoid leaning too far over in any direction.
- Avoid using metal ladders near electrical lines — stick to fiberglass or wood for added safety and stay away from any live wires for your own protection.
- Make sure you don’t climb up a ladder set against a door that can be pried open from the other side.
- Ensure that only one person climbs up the ladder at a time to prevent it from falling over.
- Avoid wearing clothes that can get caught up in the grooves of the ladder.
Adding these ladder safety tips to your repertoire can prevent any tragedies from occurring during the holiday season.
If you do end up suffering from a ladder fall, don’t ignore it, especially if you are feeling some pain in your body. Get it treated as quickly as possible to ensure that you don’t end up suffering from any long-term side effects or injuries. If the ladder fall happens when you were on someone else’s property or at even at work, then you would need to seek legal help to navigate seeking compensation.