Addressing Workplace Injuries: Fall Prevention

Falls from height, slip-and-falls, and force-rotation falls are all types of falls that happen in most workplaces, and remains the top cause of workplace injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 200,000 workers were seriously injured and 605 killed in 2009 from falls. Workers’ compensation benefits for fall-related workplace injuries alone cost $70 billion each year in the US, and the situation is similar to what is happening in other countries. Fall prevention should therefore be a top priority for employers and employees alike.

This is especially true for those in construction, where the incidence of deaths related to falls is particularly high. Non-fatal fall injuries are most common in the wholesale and retail industries as well as in health services, where incidents occur in transportation, material moving, building cleaning and maintenance, and health care.

The most common cause of workplace injuries related to falls is uneven, slippery, or disorderly walking areas. It could be a hole in the floor, sharp edges, an awkwardly placed ladder, or a wet surface. The lack or misuse of safety gear is also associated with the frequency of fall-related injuries and fatalities. The federal government has imposed rules and regulations for safety standards for all industries, but if these are not followed, fall prevention remains an untested concept.

The development and implementation of fall prevention strategies have to be a concerted effort, involving not only the government and employers but also occupational health researchers, professional associations, labor union, industry leaders, and employees. A safe working environment does not happen by accident; it needs to be a deliberate and consistent application of a culture of safety.

Unfortunately, the safety initiatives are often set aside in the pursuit of profit. Only by holding those responsible accountable for their negligence can workers assure that the workplace is a reasonably safe environment to be in. If you have been injured in a fall-related or other workplace accident because your employer or other third party failed to follow safety regulations, it is your duty to address the issue. If you decide that filing a personal injury lawsuit is the best way to bring home the need for ensuring safety in the workplace, consult with a qualified legal professional in your area to assist you in achieving your goal.

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