Why Workplace Falls are Hazardous at Any Height
According to OSHA, falls are among the top causes of serious injuries or death for workers, as well as being a top safety violation resulting in citations. As with many causes of worker injuries and deaths, falls can be preventable when employers take action to protect their workers from exposure to potential hazards.
Of the 4,779 worker deaths recorded by OSHA for 2018, construction workers were most affected by falls and a lack of fall protection. Falling accounted for about 21% or 1,008 deaths of all construction-related fatalities. While the construction industry may be disproportionately affected by falls, the fall risk remains significant for workers across the country and in various industries.
Hazardous at Any Height
According to the National Safety Council’s (NSC) most recent study conducted in 2016, 697 workers fell to their deaths from low levels. In addition, workers suffered an alarming 48,606 serious injuries resulting from low level falls caused injured employees to miss numerous workdays. Moreover, the 134 worker deaths from falls occurring on the same story further prove that regardless of height, falls are extremely dangerous for employees.
Regardless of height or industry, employers must adhere to OSHA standards for employee safety when requiring workers to be elevated as part of their job. Currently, OSHA requires that employers implement the following in accordance to fall protection guidelines:
- Provide guard railing and toe-boards for every elevated floor, runway, or open-sided platform
- Provide safety measures to prevent workers from falling into exposed equipment or hazardous chemicals such as a vat of acid or conveyer belt
- Repair and/or cover holes in floors employees may fall through
- Provide other means of fall protection, including safety harnesses and lines, safety nets, stair railings, and handrails, among others
In addition, OSHA also requires that employers provide all workers with the following supplemental materials:
- Work environment conditions free of known and present dangers
- Work area floors in clean and dry conditions
- All required protective equipment without cost to workers
- Safety training for all workers in a language each worker fully comprehends
When companies follow, strictly enforce, and continue to regulate the work environment for their employees in a manner that ensures all safety precautions are being met, companies are investing in the welfare of not only their employees but their business as well. Employers should provide appropriate personal protective equipment, fall arrest systems, ladders, scaffolds, safe lifting techniques, and housekeeping to prevent workplace falls. They should also train employees who may be exposed to fall hazards on how to recognize them and how to minimize the risks.
Workplace Fall Accident Attorneys
Falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries. These injuries can include broken bones, spinal injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and death. Workplace fall injuries can occur when falling from heights or even falling to the floor, falling down stairs or down a ladder, or falling from scaffolding or walkways. If you or a loved once was seriously injured or killed due to falling at work, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. There is a limited time to act following an incident, so please contact us today for a free consultation