Ladders risky for older men

It’s that time of year when we start spring cleaning and DIY jobs. The Department of Health and Human Services is urging older men to be mindful of ladder safety.


Ladder falls are the number one cause of DIY-related deaths and hospitalisations among men over 60 years of age.


Common reasons for falls off ladders include over-reaching, ladder slipping after placing it on uneven ground, incorrectly angled ladder, ladder rungs collapsing, or the user slipping or mis-stepping.


There were at least 276 deaths in Australia and 44,985 hospitalisations from ladder falls between 2001 and 2012, with most occurring at home. On average, five Australians (mainly men over 60) die each year after falling from a ladder.


Ladder safety is an important issue – a fall of 1 to 2 metres can be enough to cause broken bones, spinal cord damage, severe brain injury or even death.


Don’t become a statistic. Follow these tips for safe ladder use:

  • Use only ladders that meet the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1892), read safety warnings and follow the manufacturer’s advice.

  • Check that your ladder is in good working order, ensure it is free of rust, has non-slip safety feet, and that safety locks and braces are in place.

  • Don’t use a ladder with missing or loose parts, or if it is bent or warped.

  • Ensure the ladder is level, positioned on a firm, dry surface and that nothing slippery is near the base or top contact points.

  • Never put the ladder on top of other objects to gain extra height

  • Always ensure the ladder is locked firmly into place before use and make sure it is the right height for the job.

  • Maintain three points of contact at all times while on the ladder. Use two hands when climbing. When using a tool, make sure both feet and your other hand are secure on the ladder.

  • Wear slip-resistant shoes.

  • Work within your arm’s reach and avoid leaning out – it is much safer to get down and readjust the ladder.

  • Avoid using a ladder during hot days to prevent getting dizzy and losing balance.

If you are concerned about using your ladder and you are 65 years or older and you need assistance with basic maintenance around your home contact your local Council for more information.


For more information about ladder safety see the Product Safety Australia website.


See more from Seniors online Victoria.


7 November 2015.