Recently someone shared with us the story of a neighbor he knew who had fallen off a ladder and suffered a broken back. The neighbor is now in a wheelchair, his life drastically changed from life before the fall.
That got us to thinking, and we realized that nearly everyone we talk to has a story like that. They know someone that fell off a roof or ladder and was injured or killed. We hear about it because that’s the business that we are in, so it comes up in conversation.
But, we thought, surely that is an exaggeration. This can’t be that common. So, we did some research. And found some pretty sobering statistics.
OSHA research indicates that a fall over six feet (which isn’t very high) creates a strong likelihood of serious injury or death. The thing about accidental falls is that they are unexpected. Because accidental falls are unexpected it’s not like you are jumping off a six foot ledge, which you would almost certainly survive. When you fall by accident, it’s either head first, or back first. It happens faster than you can think about it, and faster than most people can react.
In a 16 year study, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reported that in the last year of the study, over 500,000 people per year were treated for ladder related injuries. Of those more than 500,000 accidents, over 300 of them resulted in death. With those statistics, it’s no wonder we hear about this seemingly all the time. The rate of ladder injuries per year increased 50% during the course of the study. Why? We would guess the trend toward DIY.
Here is the shocker: 97%, or approximately 485,000 of those injuries, occurred at home or on a farm. Why such a high percentage? Because most businesses in trades that use ladders, unless they are either renegades intentionally breaking the law or extremely ignorant (which of the two would you like working on your home?), work very hard, as we do, at safety compliance. And it works.
The moral to the story is: don’t get on your roof or on ladders. If you are even thinking about getting up on a ladder or a roof yourself, please, please, do it right: Use a safety rated extension ladder. Set it properly. Extend it properly. Secure it properly. Don’t do anything on a roof until you have set a roof anchor properly (your chimney isn’t an anchor), and attached a rope and lanyard to an ANSI certified safety harness, and that the lanyard is adjusted to the proper length. Only then should you take your tools in hand and start work. Otherwise, you risk becoming a statistic.
A much better idea is to call us. We do those things every time on every roof. If a crew member violates the rules, they get suspended or fired. We are here to do the dirty, DANGEROUS work, safely, that you shouldn’t be doing for yourself.
To quote that cultural icon, Spock: “may you live long and prosper [by staying off ladders and roofs]!”
For a free estimate to have us do the dangerous, dirty work maintaining your roof and gutters, click the button or give us a call at (503) 407-3346.