The arrival of Autumn means that the leaves are about to fall  which also means that there are a whole lot of Do It Yourself projects taking place right around the country. Homes are being cleaned, gutters are being cleared and hedges are being trimmed.  In this week’s blog CSSM Myotherapist, Kelsey Thomas, talks ladder safety because it’s probably no surprise that all this activity coincides with an increase in the number of falls from ladders.

Ladder falls are the most frequent DIY injury with nearly one in ten falls resulting in a brain injury. (1)

Alfred Health studied ladder-related falls and found that from 2007-2011, 584 Victorians were admitted to the Alfred Hospital after falling off ladders. Of those, 194 were major trauma cases and 58 ended up in the intensive care unit where they relied on machines to breathe.

Even a small fall can have serious consequences including pain, impaired function, loss of confidence and a loss of dependence.

The Alfred followed this up with another study between June 2016 and June 2017 and found that out of 532 people with life threatening injuries sustained from falling – more than half were falls from less than a metre.

Perhaps it’s no wonder researchers now recommend wearing a helmet when climbing a ladder.

Some important tips to consider before climbing that ladder:

  1. Check the condition of your ladder before you use it. If it’s been a while, make sure the rubber stoppers on the bottom are in good condition, the joins are rust-free and any locking mechanisms fit well into place and stay there. If there are any safety deficits that can’t be easily fixed, it may be time to visit your nearest hardware store for a suitable replacement.
  2. Place the ladder on a suitable, stable surface. If it’s just not working, it’s not meant to be. In the case of gutters, this may be the time to call in the professionals.
  3. Wear appropriate footwear. Thongs are a staple for any Australian summer, but they don’t belong on a ladder. Wear sturdy shoes with a non-slip sole.
  4. Work with a buddy. If you’re going to be working on a ladder it’s always better to have someone else at home or even better yet, with you or supporting the ladder where appropriate.
  5. Most ladder falls happen when climbing back down. Take your time when both ascending and descending, making sure your foot is in good contact with the rung and hands are in a stable position.


If you’d like to decrease your risk of falling, or have had a previous fall, our team at CSSM can help to improve your balance, strength and stability.

However, if you have fallen, it is important to have your injuries assessed.  Our team can refer for x-rays and imaging after more serious falls or help with injury rehabilitation in less serious events.  Call for an appointment today.