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How to Protect Your Uphill Climb from Being Your Downfall

By Martha Michael

Ladder Safety

The good news is you successfully climbed a 12-foot ladder and got the Christmas lights up last month. The bad news? You have to get up again to take them down, plus clamber into the attic to put everything away.

In a matter of minutes, you can take a very consequential fall that drastically changes your plans for 2020.

Environmental, health and safety magazine EHS Today says that 43 percent of all fatalities from falling occur when ladders are in use. And according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, 81 percent of ER visits from falls involve ladders.

Though they’re preventable, ladder fall injuries total more than 15,000 per year in the workplace, the article says; factors that contribute to those injuries include:

  • Ethnicity - Males and Hispanics have higher rates of ladder fall injuries than females and employees of other ethnicities.
  • Age - Older individuals experience more ladder fall injuries except for those treated in emergency rooms.
  • Employment status - Self-employed workers are more likely to die from falling off a ladder.
  • Industry - The two categories with the highest rates of ladder fall injuries are extraction occupations such as mining, and construction. Also at risk are repair, maintenance and installation workers.

Prevention

The knowledge that ladder use is risky, even for professionals, is a reminder to use extreme caution when climbing and stowing your home goods and other belongings. Failing to stabilize the ladder is one of the most common causes of falls, which more easily occurs when we don’t use foresight or we rush to get the job done.

Find a flat surface and establish ladder stability before taking that first, potentially fateful, step. Also, make sure you don’t haul boxes that are unwieldy or too heavy for the ladder to sustain. If your ladder isn’t capable of supporting the weight it may collapse.

And be careful of your reach. You put yourself in a precarious position if you climb one direction and reach toward another. You may lose your balance and fall, or you could affect the alignment in your back.

Staying in shape is a good idea for a lot of reasons. It’s even helpful with mundane household duties. The support you get from a stronger core enables you to bend at the waist and reach farther than you could before.

You minimize the chance of an injury by increasing your flexibility before you do any heavy lifting. Putting regular chiropractic visits into your schedule makes you more capable of lifting without pulling a muscle or incurring other injuries.

Treatment

If you’ve twisted your back or suffered bruises from a fall, you want to get checked out by your chiropractor as soon as possible. The earlier you’re treated, the less likely you are to develop a chronic issue, plus you don’t suffer through a prolonged period of discomfort.

One of a chiropractor’s specialties is treating low back strain or sprain that occurs when you stretch your muscles and ligaments too far, tearing the tissues, says WebMD. Bending over repeatedly or holding one position too long can be catalysts for strains, which can affect several areas of your body including the back, neck and ankles. It’s a fairly common injury when packing, carrying and stowing, because it can occur when you lift something too heavy and apply too much pressure to the muscle.

Because your muscles hold together the bones in your back, an injury can destabilize your spine. Seek chiropractic treatment if you’re experiencing pain that occurs when you cough or sneeze or if you develop stiffness in your back.

Extend your reach to include regular visits. Remember that taking measures to prevent ladder fall injuries gives you a leg up in keeping your body whole.

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