Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Ergonomics evaluation into the safety of stepladders: Literature and standards review - phase 1

By Laurence Clift and Tanya Navarro

Abstract

This is report is also freely available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/crr_pdf/2002/crr02418.pdfThis review appraises relevant published documents to determine the current understanding of the issues affecting the stability of stepladders. In doing so it identifies that, whilst there have been many attempts to conduct research into this issue, these have only ever been partly successful. Most research appears to only address certain aspects of the safety provided, instead of approaching the problem holistically. As such, actions following any research undertaken have been small-scale, largely unmonitored and arguably ineffective. A further appraisal of the human factors issues relating to stepladder use reveals it to be a complex area, involving not just simple mechanical actions, but also risk perception, behaviour modifications and the effectiveness of warnings and labelling. Again, whilst some considerable effort has been made in examining the manifestations of these variables, there is little solid evidence for an understanding of the causes and effects that can fundamentally alter the safety of the stepladder in use. A review of the accident statistics reveals that stepladders are certainly a highly injurious product. Despite this, the manufacture and use of these products appears less well controlled than other equipment and devices such as power tools or personal protective equipment. However, it is quite clear that intervention in this area could be highly effective in both the prevention of personal suffering and also the saving of costs. The last section of this report deals with a comparison of the current standards and regulations controlling the manufacture and use of stepladders. It can be seen that whilst considerable effort is being made to ensure that a technically capable product is being manufactured, and professional use is well controlled, these steps do not appear to be effective in reducing the number or severity of accidents in the real world. It is patent that an element is missing in the safety equation, and the conclusion of this report is that only through a better understanding of the users’ needs and behaviour can this can be identified. Accordingly, a proposal is made to undertake extensive dynamic trials involving stepladders to evaluate the key variables controlling their stability in use

Publisher: © Crown Copyright
Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.lboro.ac.uk:2134/1848

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. A survey of ladder users. ICE report for the Consumer Safety Unit,
  2. An ergonomic basis for recommendations pertaining to specific sections of OSHA Standard 29CFR Part 1910, subpart D – Walking and working surfaces OSHA Department of Labor, Washington DC.
  3. An Ergonomics Investigation of Ladder Users’ Risk Perception. Project Report for Postgraduate course in Ergonomics,
  4. (1997). Analysis of accidents involving ladders. Human Factors Group, Sheffield HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE Construction Sector - based on RIDDOR Reportable Fatals,
  5. Ann Arbor: Highways Research Safety Institute.
  6. Body movements in climbing a ladder.
  7. Causes and patterns of injury from ladder falls. doi
  8. Consumer safety research: assessment of the safety of stepladders.
  9. Consumer safety research: investigation into domestic use of and accidents with mobile towers.
  10. design and evaluation methodologies. Fuller Technical Publications,
  11. Effects of benign experience on the perception of risk.
  12. Effects of cost and social influence on warning compliance.
  13. Ergonomic design of ladders. Accident Analysis and Prevention,
  14. Evaluating the effectiveness of warnings under prevailing working conditions.
  15. Fall protection or fall hazard? Prevention of Falls Policy Group,
  16. Falls-related deaths in the construction industry.
  17. (1998). Home Accident Surveillance System including leisure activities: 22nd Annual Report
  18. How does the population interpret warning signs? In:
  19. Instructions for consumer products: guidelines for better instructions and safety information for consumer products.
  20. Intended and unintended consequences of warning messages: A review and synthesis of empirical research.
  21. Judgements of hazard, risk and danger. Do they differ?
  22. Ladder chemistry. doi
  23. Ladder climbing biomechanics. In:
  24. Ladder injuries: mechanisms, injuries and consequences.
  25. ladders: an ergonomic design approach.
  26. Measures to prevent portable ladder accidents in the construction industry.
  27. Potential problems associated with overusing warnings. In:
  28. Product-use instructions: how to evaluate them in manufacturer negligence.
  29. Research Programme into the Need for Dynamic Testing of Domestic Ladders. Research Institute for Consumer Ergonomics (RICE) report for the Consumer Safety Unit,
  30. Risk compensation theory should be subject to systematic reviews of the scientific evidence. doi
  31. (1998). SAFE USE OF WORK EQUIPMENT. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
  32. Safely arriving at heights – and back to earth again. Portable ladders and stepladders.
  33. Strategic occupational injury prevention. Falls from heights – A report on claims, fatalities and injury severity outcomes. Policy Research Papers,
  34. the communication of risk.
  35. The effects of rung spacing on the mechanics of ladder ascent.
  36. The influence of position, highlighting, and imbedding on warning effectiveness. In: doi
  37. The Role of Good Design and Manufacturing in Preventing Ladder Accidents.
  38. The Stepladder User’s Guide. A publication with the support of the British Ladder Manufacturer’s Association.
  39. Toward a methodology for the design of warnings. In:
  40. What you want is one that’s strong, stable and rigid.
  41. Writing safety instructions for consumer products. Consumer Safety Unit,
  42. Writing safety instructions for consumer products. The Qualitative Consultancy.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.