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New hazard alert focuses on falls from portable ladders

Photo: Stefania Pelfini, La Waziya Photography/gettyimages

East Lansing, MI — Falls involving portable ladders caused 84 on-the-job deaths from 2001 to 2021 in Michigan, prompting a new hazard alert from Michigan State University.

The height of the fatal falls ranged from 49 feet to 2 feet, with the average height being 14-15 feet. Most of the falls involved extension ladders (36) or stepladders (19), and occurred in construction (55%).

The alert features selected case narratives, safety tips for using portable ladders and links to additional resources.

“Due to how commonplace ladders are, their use may appear to be easy and intuitive, leading individuals to underestimate the danger,” states the MSU Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which is part of the College of Human Medicine. “Using a ladder incorrectly may result in injury or even death.”

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