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Preventing Falls in the Workplace

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Preventing Falls in the WorkplaceAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a lack of protection against falls is the most frequently cited safety violation during workplace inspections. Falls are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries and are a threat in any working environment. Workers who suffer fall-related injuries can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, as long as the incident occurred at work or as part of their job.

What Causes Falls?

Falls can happen from great heights or on flat surfaces. The cause can vary but often originates due to a lack of safeguards or carelessness by workers. Examples include:

  • Not installing railings in tall, open structures;
  • Faulty safety equipment;
  • Obstacles placed in high-traffic walking areas;
  • Slippery surfaces that have not been attended to; and
  • Distracted walkers.

Where Do Falls Occur?

Falls resulting in worker deaths most frequently occur at construction sites, according to the Center for Disease Control. Falls at a construction site can be particularly dangerous because they often come from a great height and victims risk landing on equipment. However, healthcare professionals and retailer workers have the most fall-related injuries. These workers are frequently walking in crowded areas with numerous hazards that can cause them to lose their balance. Their risk of falling increases when they must carry large objects, which can obstruct their vision or tempt them to rush to complete the task.

Preventing Falls

Employers and workers share responsibility in promoting safe practices that protect against falls. The OSHA encourages employers to alert workers of potential falling hazards in their workplace and train them on how to avoid accidents and injuries. In turn, workers must observe whether their employer is providing a safe working environment. Steps employers and workers can take to prevent falls include:

  • Inspecting safety equipment to make sure that it is working properly;
  • Stabilizing ladders and other equipment used to reach high areas;
  • Clearing obstacles from walkways that may cause people to trip;
  • Immediately attending to water accumulation that may be a slipping hazard;
  • Instructing employees to stay alert to their surroundings; and
  • Teaching safe walking techniques for when employees encounter slippery surfaces.

Fall Recovery 

A fall from any height can cause bruises, abrasions, and bone fractures on any part of the body. Slipping but retaining your balance can also cause muscle and ligament damage. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you obtain benefits to cover your medical expenses and pay for the time you miss from work. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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