According to a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), falls are the second leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. Over the past 11 years, 14 percent of all job-related deaths were caused by falls, according to NIOSH researchers.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry. OSHA considers falls one of the “Fatal Four” causes of death, along with electrocution, struck-by, and caught-in or between accidents. Like all of these work-related fatalities, falls are preventable.
The NIOSH researchers looked at the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries as a data source. They examined the rates of deaths from falls in different occupations, and found that between 2003 and 2014, nearly 9,000 workers were killed as a result of a fatal fall. Other than construction and extraction, the leading industries for fall-related fatalities were installation, maintenance, and repair.
Researchers found that the rate of death and injury from falls was highest among male workers, Hispanic workers, and older workers. Nearly half of all the fatalities from heights involved people employed by small businesses with ten employees or fewer.
Researchers also separated out the different types of falls, and noticed that falls from a higher level to a lower level represented nearly all of the fatalities (close to 85 percent). But 12.7 percent were “falls on the same level,” and the remaining roughly two percent of falls were categorized as “other.” NIOSH’s research was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
Staying Safe and Preventing Falls
In association with their study, the researchers stated that preventing work-related falls continues to be challenging in the United States. NIOSH suggested that there is a need for industry leaders and government safety regulators to work together along with unions, researchers, and employers, in order to curb the increase in these deadly, tragic accidents.
In order to keep safe, it is important to use appropriate equipment, and educate yourself about fall hazards and how to use your equipment properly.
When estimating the cost of a job, or putting out a bid, an employer should be sure to take safety equipment into consideration. They should make use of personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) whenever appropriate (such as roofing). Using the equipment is one thing; regular inspection of the PFAS and making sure that they fit properly are also of great importance.
Anyone working at a height of six feet or more above lower levels is at the highest risk. Those working at these heights should make use of the right kind of ladders, scaffolding, and PFAS.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Workers Injured in Falls
If you have been injured in a fall at work, or have sustained another type of work-related illness, injury, or health condition, you may be entitled to Workers’ Comp benefits for your medical bills, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and more. The Workers’ Compensation system is a no-fault insurance system, meaning you are entitled to benefits for any injury sustained on the job, regardless of fault. To schedule a free, no obligation consultation, call an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith and Arden today at 803-929-3600, or contact us online.
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