Is renovation riskier than new construction? An observational comparison of risk factors for stepladder-related falls

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BackgroundStepladder-related injuries at construction sites have increased in recent years. We aimed to quantify the prevalence of stepladder-related fall hazards in general construction and to compare the risks on renovation worksites to new construction build sites.MethodsEighteen worksites were visited, resulting in the observation of 771 stepladders. Eight of the sites were new builds and ten were renovation projects.ResultsHigh compliance with best practices was not observed for several factors, including having hands free while climbing (46%) and using minimum forces (72%). There was a notable trend toward more hazards on renovation build projects than on new construction sites; however, these differences were not statistically significant.ConclusionsThere was not sufficient evidence to show that stepladder fall hazards are more prevalent on renovation projects than on new build projects. Having hands free while climbing and using minimum forces were two practices needing more wide-scale adoption regardless of construction job type. Am. J. Ind. Med. 54:579-585, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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