Falls in the workplace can be a real hazard. When you fall, you’ll automatically want to try to catch yourself. That could mean falling forward and bracing yourself with your arms, wrists and hands or twisting to try to prevent yourself from landing directly on your back. No matter what you do, the chances are that you could suffer an injury.
Did you know that 687 workers died from falls to lower levels in 2016? Another 48,060 were injured so badly that they had to take time off work to heal.
It’s important to realize that workers don’t need to fall from high levels to suffer serious or debilitating injuries. They don’t have to fall from a height to die from the fall, either. In fact, 134 people died that year as a result of falls that were on the same level.
Falls are preventable, so why are they happening?
Falls happen for many reasons. They can happen because of poor weather conditions, like high winds, that push over ladders or scaffolding. They could happen because of messy or cluttered pathways that lead to tripping hazards. Falls often happen as a result of being ill-prepared for a job at hand or not focusing on safety in the workplace.
Falls don’t have to happen
If you want to avoid falls in your workplace, then there needs to be a focus placed on safety. The fall risk in any area of the workplace needs to be assessed. If there are hazards, like extension cords on the ground, bunched carpet or others, then those hazards should be corrected.
If you plan to work and are going to be at a height, then you need to talk about that task for coworkers and your employer to decide what kind of safety equipment is necessary. The work area should be scanned for potential hazards, and all equipment should then be set up on level ground.
For those who will be working outside, it’s essential to check the weather forecast and to know when it’s best to avoid working. For example, if you’re working on roofing but the wind speeds are high because of an incoming thunderstorm, it may be best to put the job on hold for the day (or at least until the storm passes).
Safety steps can help prevent falls in the workplace. If you do end up falling and getting hurt, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation to cover your injuries and losses.