Are American males getting clumsier? A study released last month found that injuries from Consumer Nail Gun Injuries Spike has almost doubled from 2001. And now comes word that ladder injuries are also climbing.

More than 2.1 million individuals were treated in U.S. emergency departments for ladder-related injuries from 1990 through 2005, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Individuals using ladders are often not mindful of the severe risks associated with use, said the studys co-author Lara Trifiletti, PhD, MA, principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Childrens Hospital and an assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Increased public health initiatives that target men and women, especially of working age, could help reduce the number of ladder-related injuries.

This is the first U.S. study to use national data to comprehensively examine nonfatal ladder-related injuries.

During the 16-year study period, the number of ladder-related injuries increased by more than 50 percent. Nearly 10 percent of injuries resulted in hospitalization or transfer to another hospital, approximately twice the admission rate of consumer product-related injuries overall, according to the research.

Accidents at Home

Of the cases for which location of injury was recorded, nearly all - 97 percent - occurred in non-occupational settings, such as homes and farms.

Data showed ladder-related injuries most often occur to males, accounting for nearly 77 percent of the total cases. Fractures were the most common type of injury, while the legs and feet were the most frequently injured body parts.

Given the 50 percent increase in the annual number of ladder-related injuries, the relatively high hospital admission rate, and the predominance of injuries in non-occupational settings, increased efforts are needed to prevent ladder-related injuries in and around the home, said co-author Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of CIRP at Columbus Childrens Hospital and an associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Ladders should be treated with the same respect and caution as any potentially dangerous tool, such as a power saw.

Data for the study were obtained from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. The analysis included cases of nonfatal ladder-related injuries treated in emergency departments across the country during the 16-year study period.