Ah, spring. Of course, that can mean only one thing: men are rousing themselves from hibernation and beginning the annual ritual of Self-Injurious-Activity (SIA). Early reports indicate a strong start to the season, with men from all regions of the country spending heavily for the latest home repair gadgets. Power tools top the list, followed closely by specialty ladders, sharp instruments and miscellaneous outdoor-use "stuff."
Scientists have studied SIA for decades, but have yet to crack its code. Is it genetics that drives men to cast themselves off ladders, and to drive nails through their hands at 120 PSI? Or, in the age-old debate, is it nurture? Are men simply aping the activities their fathers demonstrated while injuring themselves with crude instruments, like the handheld hammer, the arm-powered saw and the little twisty-thing used to set screws?
We may never know, but...
Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Columbus Children's Hospital confirm the trend continues. The scientists at CIRP reviewed data related to the use of ladders for the period of 1990 through 2005. They found over 2 million people suffered injury and received treatment at emergency rooms during the period.
Two figures stand out from their findings: 97% and 77%.
97% - The scientists found 97% of the injuries occurred at home or on the farm. In other words, ladder injuries occurring at work, where people actually understand the basic principle of gravity, were minimal.
77% - Ah, leave it to the men. 77% of all ladder related injuries were suffered by men. Though no data was collected, it is believed that most of the injuries to women occurred when men became distracted, let go of the ladder they were supporting, and wandered off.
Tom Clumps, spokesman for the National Association of Injured Men, summed up the attitude of most members. "We do what we can to support our communities and the local economies. Our research indicates our payments to the medical systems often make the difference between them staying in business or having to close their doors. I tell ya, in my eyes - these men are real heroes."
...Tom's dad taught him well.To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To read safety tips on the appropriate use of portable ladders, see this from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, or this from the Home Safety Council.