Close this search box.


Man on a ladder installing outdoor Christmas lights.

It’s that time of the year, and I’m already seeing the seasonal uptick in the number of ladder injuries. Interestingly, there are now more ladder injuries during Halloween because hanging lights for that dark day has now become de rigueur.

Look, it’s pretty simple. Ladder injuries are potentially devastating and almost 100 percent preventable.

There are about 1,000 reported deaths from ladder injuries every year (and that’s just the reported workplace injuries). Then there are tens of thousands of reported ladder injuries, starting from the neck and working down to the foot and ankle. I see the minor ankle and wrist sprains and fractures in the office, but in the ER, we see life-altering injuries that could have been prevented.

Patients are either embarrassed or devastated over the decisions they made: the decision to do it in the dark, so they could see the lights better; the decision to do it in flip-flops, or to reach for that last light, rather than climb down and reposition the ladder. Then there’s not watching for that last step; standing on the top step of the ladder (where the warning says not to). Putting a ladder in soft dirt, only to find yourself teeter-tottering over the porch, grabbing for gutters which aren’t made to hold humans suspended in the air, like they always seem to do in Christmas comedy movies.

Set yourself up for success. Have a spotter. Use the right ladder for the job. Put it on solid ground. Get down and move that ladder.

Make sure your will is in order and your life and disability insurance policies are paid up.

Or how about just don’t put lights up high. Use those blanket lights and light projectors! Better yet, hire a professional crew to put them up for you, or use a wreath and some poinsettias, and save your body and some electricity to boot!

Share this Story

Dr. Barbara Bergin is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon who has been taking care of the bones and joints of Austin, Texas, for over 30 years. She prefers prevention to treatment and takes a natural approach to both when possible. By informing her readers and patients through 1010ParkPlace and her blog,, she wants to prevent 100,000 injuries before she retires.


  1. My 70 year old husband is having surgery this Thursday on his hand. He stepped off the ladder from the second step thinking he was on the first. His fall broke a plate in his hand from a previous surgery for joint repair. He was hanging a wreath and was only part way up the ladder plus I was right there. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye. Be safe by slow deliberate action. Next year we plan to let our kids come help. Thanks for your article.

    • Oh dear! Remember Lee Mowat? She fell off a ladder hanging Halloween lights above her garage and broke her elbow. Now she has a long steel plate and some screws in there. Yes, let someone else do this.

  2. This made me cry. We lost a family friend last year when he fell off a ladder. You’re right, ladder injuries are not funny and sometimes end up being far worse than just an injury. I hope your article and anyone who sees my comment thinks twice about getting up a ladder, or at least takes every possible safety precaution. Esther xx

Comments are closed.


Sign up to our list and we’ll send you our sought-after guide “50 Ways To Change Your Life”
I'm happy you've joined us! If you like what you read, I'd love for you to stay and subscribe to our updates by email. We have a great community of like-minded women, and your presence can only make it stronger.