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Reducing the rung spacing of firetruck aerial ladders could help cut down on firefighter injuries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health said in a report.
Reducing the rung spacing from 14 inches to 12 inches could lower muscle and joint stress, improve climbing efficiency and improve safety for firefighters, particularly those with smaller body frames as the sector’s workforce becomes more diverse, according to the report released Monday.
Researchers found that the tighter spacing correlated with increased climbing speed, increased toe and foot clearance, reduced ankle twisting, and reduced hand and foot forces.