Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases information on fatal occupational injuries. In 2011, for instance, the bureau reported that around 5,000 workers died on the job and another 3 million were injured. These workers were hurt or killed in many different types of accidents, and workers across all industries suffered injuries or death. However, one of the most common causes of workplace injury was falls.
OurJohnson City, TN accident lawyers are concerned about the high number of workers who are killed as a result of falls each year, and we believe that many of these deaths could be prevented if employers followed safety guidelines and if workers were better informed of the risks.
The Dangers of Falling in the Workplace
According to the BLS data from 2011:
- 666 workers were killed in falls in 2011. Fall injuries were responsible for causing 14 percent of the total number of worker deaths over the course of the year.
- 541 of the fatal falls occurred as a result of falling to a lower level. This means that the worker fell from a higher height to a lower one, such as falling off of a scaffold or falling down into a foundation that had been dug.
- 60 of the fatal falls to a lower level occurred when a worker fell through an opening.
- 38 of the fatal falls to a lower level occurred as a result of a working falling from a collapsing structure or a piece of equipment.
- 108 of the fatalities resulted from a worker falling on the same level.This can include situations where a worker trips or slips without falling to a different height.
How to Avoid Workplace Falls
While accidents always happen, it is possible to take some steps to prevent falls. For example:
- Employers need to follow all guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has strict rules on scaffolding, crane and equipment use and other issues that can increase the risk of workplace falls.
- Any spills should be immediately cleaned up. If the surface remains wet after a cleanup, it should be identified as such and a warning should be posted so no one is caught by surprise on the wet floor.
- Work sites should be kept clutter free and debris should be removed from areas where a worker could potentially trip over it.
- Items should not be kept in locations where workers must stretch and strain to reach them. If it is necessary to store workplace items or merchandise on high shelves or at high locations, then employers need to provide an appropriate ladder or apparatus to allow workers to safely reach the items they need.
- When workers are performing work at a higher elevation, fall protection gear should be used as recommended by OSHA.
By following these guidelines, hopefully there will be fewer workplace falls and workers can remain safe. When a worker does fall on the job, he may be able to make a workers’ compensation claim against his or her employer or he may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against any third party non-employers who were responsible for causing his injuries to occur.
If you are in an accident in Johnson City, Tennessee, contact Meade Injury Law Group today at (423) 926-7112 for a free consultation.