August 26, 2019 – Most accidents that happen during work in and around the house are caused by ladders or scaffolds. This is the result of research conducted by the Dutch organization VeiligheidNL on behalf of online tool shop Klium. The study looked at the number of accidents that occur every year during work and renovations in and around the house.
The analysis looked at the type of tools involved in accidents. To this end, data was collected for the whole of 2018 from Emergency First Aid departments in 14 different Dutch hospitals. In addition to accidents caused by ladders and scaffolding (44%), work involving the use of a saw(machine) often leads to a visit to the emergency room (23%). Other types of tools that can lead to injuries are hand tools such as hammers, grinders and drills. In addition to most accidents, the ladder also seems responsible for the most serious accidents. Where many accidents are minor damages, falling from heights such as ladders often leads to serious injuries such as a broken hip, arm or leg.
Tools responsible for job accidents in The Netherlands in 2018:
• Ladders: 3500 (44%)
• Saw: 1800 (22%)
• Drill: 500 (6%)
• Hammer: 500 (6%)
• Grinder 500 (6%)
• Axe 100 (2%)
• Other: 1100 (14%)
The research report also shows that it is mainly men who end up in the emergency room. This does not mean that men are less careful. It is likely that men do (renovation) work more often than women. Another statistic seems to show a trend of older people having more chance at getting involved in an accident. However, this could also be caused that older people have more spare time to work with different kind of Klium tools.
VeiligheidNL’s report does not provide any information about the causes of the accidents, but Klium power tools suspects that in most cases one of these three factors plays a role:
• Incorrect positioning of the ladder, for example at a dangerous angle or on an unstable surface.
• Poor condition of the ladder, such as broken, missing or dirty steps.
• The physical and mental condition of the handyman.
Preventing fall accidents
In addition to using a properly functioning ladder or staircase, most accidents can be prevented, according to Kathleen Ombelets of Klium. “Many accidents are caused by carelessness or poor preparation. People are stressed or tired and are therefore no longer concentrated. Make sure you have both hands free when climbing a ladder. If you do fall or slip, you have both arms free to break the fall. In addition, wearing fall protection reduces the risk of serious injury”.
Other measurements a person should take before working with ladders or scaffoldings:
• Keep an eye on it. With stress, haste, fear of heights or fatigue it is better not to climb a ladder.
• Check the ladder for any damage or contamination.
• Place the ladder at a safe angle (75° is usually recommended) on a solid, flat surface.
• Ask someone to hold the ladder, especially when working at a high altitude.
• Climb in a safe way, with your face towards the ladder and your center of gravity straight above the step. Place your full foot on the step and always keep three points of contact with the ladder.
Move the ladder in time, so you don’t have to reach too far.
Do not hold any tools in your hands when climbing, rather wear a toolbelt.
Because, despite all precautions, something can still go wrong, a form of fall protection is recommended as an extra insurance against accidents.
The complete research can be found on the website of Klium.com.