It probably comes as no surprise that the top injury in the workplace, according to OSHA, is falling. According to their statistics, the most fatal injuries happen on construction jobs. Of those injuries, there are the “fatal four” that have the highest incidence of death; falls are at the top of that list. Over one-third of all deaths in the fatal four categories were related to falls.
Not all workplace injuries are fatal, of course, however, the top category for non-fatal work injuries includes slips and trips. Slips and falls are behind the majority of workers’ compensation claims. For workers aged 55 and over, they are the leading cause of occupational injury.
Causes for Slips and Falls
There are a variety of reasons why an individual may slip or fall at work. Among the top reasons for slips and falls are uneven floor surfaces, wet floors, and unsuitable floor coverings. In addition to falling due to slipping or tripping over an object, falls can happen due to poor ladder maintenance or not using a ladder properly.
Falls can either be from elevated places, such as scaffolding or ladders, or a same-level falls, such as tripping over a carpet or falling due to a slip on an oily surface. Most falls are same-level falls. The majority of the time, these falls result in fractured bones. Elevated falls are often more serious. They can result in death. According to OSHA, 15 percent of all accidental deaths are caused by slips, trips, and falls.
There are a variety of causes for slips. Slick or highly polished floors can be a cause. Transitioning from one type of surface to another, such as from carpet to vinyl can cause problems. Then, there are the occupational hazards of certain jobs. Working in or around muddy, greasy or oily surfaces can cause slips, as can floors covered with granules, specks of dust, powders, etc.
Employees who may be at risk of a falling hazard are required to participate in a mandated training program. OSHA requires employers to provide these programs for employees whose job puts them at a greater risk of falling.
Attending training on how to prevent falls is one way to help prevent injuries. Same-level falls and slips can be minimized by wearing appropriate footwear for the surface you will be walking on. You also need to be aware of wet floors. Leaks, cleaning and spills can be hazardous. If you have a job that requires you to walk on oily surfaces, be sure your shoes have the traction needed for your occupation.
Proper lighting is important, as well, so surfaces and floor levels are clearly visible. High-risk areas should have slip-resistant flooring. When there are changes in elevations, anti-skid paint should be used.
Proper care needs to be taken to contain leaks and spills, when possible. Maintaining equipment properly and checking regularly for issues helps as well. Well-designed workplaces take into consideration the things that could cause slips or falls, and they address them.
The lawyers at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., work with individuals who have experienced personal injury. Our expertise in this area is extensive. If you have a personal injury case, give us a call for a complimentary consultation. In the southwest Florida area encompassing North Port, Port Charlotte, and Englewood, look to Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., to provide caring, compassionate legal services. Contact us today.