Identification and Prevention of Injuries in Northwest Orchards

(NIOSH/CDC, 2001-2007) This study found that ladders were the leading cause of orchard injuries, accounting for 30% of injury claims and costing $21.5 million over a six-year period. Ladder accidents were a consequence of unstable placement, over-extension of the third leg, slipping while descending, or being struck by a falling ladder. These hazards most commonly resulted in sprains and strains, eye injuries, and fractures and dislocations. Study results were drawn from comprehensive review of injury claims and personal interviews. To solve these problems, three prototype interventions were developed: a new ladder with built-in sensors that can, as a training tool, both warn workers and monitor risk conditions; a modification to a ladder that alerts workers to when they have reached the last step; and a simple plug that stabilizes the third leg.

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