Doctor urges people to take care on ladders


The Bass Coast community is being reminded to be careful when using ladders after a spate of injuries resulting in increased presentations at Bass Coast Health (BCH), with eight presentations for June and four in July.

Dr Dan Crompton, Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at BCH, said the health service had experienced more people coming to the Emergency Department at Wonthaggi Hospital and Urgent Care Centre at Phillip Island after falling off ladders.

“Most people know ladders are dangerous, but occasionally still take a risk or shortcut, which can result in broken bones, internal injuries or even death. A lot of it is about correct balancing and awareness,” he said.

“It’s so important that people take the time to be safe by ensuring their ladder is on a flat, dry surface and stable, have two feet on the ladder at all times, and not lean or reach out from the ladder.

“They should also ensure they do not stand too high on the ladder as this will throw them off balance. Most ladders have a sticker indicating the highest rung that people should not climb past.”

Dr Crompton said most people presenting with ladder injuries had fallen off a ladder at home.

“If you’re aged 60 and over, you’re more likely to be prone to serious falling injuries because your balance deteriorates over time,” he said.

According to the Department of Health, ladders are associated with more deaths and injuries than any other household product.

In Victoria alone, there is an average of 1330 emergency department presentations each year as a result of falling from a ladder at home and approximately seven men die as a result of falling from a ladder at home each year.

The majority of these deaths resulted from ladder use while undertaking home maintenance duties and most ladder fall deaths occur in males aged 75–84 years. In Victoria, approximately three in five people who are hospitalised after a ladder fall suffer bone fractures.The next most common injuries are open wounds and head injuries, including concussion.

In recent years there has been a significant increase in ladder fall injuries in the home, contrary to the declining trend of ladder falls in the workplace.

People can learn more about ladder safety here: