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Ladders are notoriously dangerous: especially for the novice cleaning a gutter once a year or attempting small home repairs. The most common ladder-related injury is a bone fracture, but they sometimes heartbreakingly result in death.


According to the United States Department of Labor in 2013, there were about two hundred cases of workers' severe injuries of fractured bones due to falls from ladders. Outside of workspaces, there are even more people who are injured from falling down from ladders. The BEAR team has been contracted to analyze more than a dozen ladder cases to date.


BEAR engineers have found that based on the laws of physics, all but one incident was caused by users' excessive reach. Our tests include friction, slippage of the step of ladder, and x-ray analysis of possible cracks in the ladders. In one of our cases, we applied all of these methods when examining a mysterious case of a ladder coming loose from a recreational vehicle. After the examination, we successfully determined that during a previous re-roofing of the RV, important components used to secure the ladder to the vehicle were not reinstalled. This mistake caused the ladder to ultimately rip out of its fixtures.


The figures portray a field inspection by BEAR engineers to better simulate the accident; the inspection of the steps of ladder; and the x-ray inspection inside of the ladder to check if every connection was securely fastened for the safety.

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