Ladders revisited

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To describe the epidemiology of falls from ladders in a state-wide population. DESIGN AND SETTING: Retrospective review of data from the the Victorian State Trauma Registry and the Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset on patients presenting to public hospital emergency departments (EDs) with injuries due to a fall while climbing a ladder, from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2005. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Overall trends in the incidence of ladder-related ED presentations, and in cases of major trauma, trends according to age, and trends according to activity at the time of the fall. RESULTS: 4553 patients presented to EDs after falls from ladders in Victoria during the study period; 160 patients had injuries classified as major trauma. There has been a significant rise in the number of presentations to EDs following falls from ladders in Victoria, with a marked increase in the number of cases involving patients aged over 50 years and those climbing ladders outside of paid working conditions. Deaths occurred predominantly in the elderly after falls from heights above 1 metre. CONCLUSIONS: Despite knowledge of the dangers of falls from ladders, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients presenting to hospitals after ladder falls. Middle-aged to elderly patients undertaking unpaid work account for this increase. A targeted public health initiative is required to curb this trend.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31 - 34
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Volume186
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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