Increased Hand-Rung Force Is Associated with Increased Ladder Fall Risk
Falls from ladders are a frequent and severe injury. To better understand effective strategies to arrest a falling from ladder event, this study assessed 35 participants on their ability to arrest their body from falling after a ladder climbing perturbation. Peak hand-rung forces were compared with fall severity after an ascending climbing perturbation to assess if greater hand-rung force leads to reduced severity in the falling event. Severity of the falling event was measured by the weight supported in the safety harness (i.e. harness force). Higher harness forces were found to be associated with higher hand-rung forces. Hand-rung forces after a climbing perturbation do not reduce the severity in the falling event. Instead, this study suggests that hand-rung forces are caused by the severity in the falling event. This is critical knowledge because the hands are likely to decouple from the ladder if the severity of the falling event is greater than the grasping capability of the climber.
KeywordsLadder falls Hand-rung force Hand decoupling
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