Falls are one of the main ways that American workers suffer injuries every year. While some occupations clearly come with greater risks -- construction or painting, for instance -- people can slip and fall in any industry.
Companies and workers need to attempt to lower these risks, but the unfortunate reality is that workplace hazards often increase the odds of a serious incident. Here are five of the main factors considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Workers who do not use their fall protection equipment properly. For instance, a worker may never get the proper training and therefore may not know how to hook up the harness safely.
- Unprotected edges. This is a common issue at construction sites, where upper levels may not have adequate protection.
- Clutter. In any workplace, dirty or cluttered spaces can be dangerous. Slippery walking surfaces are also a major issue.
- Ladders that are not positioned properly. They may be too close to a wall or too far away; both are dangerous. Again, it could come back to a lack of proper training.
- Openings in walls and floors. These openings are sometimes necessary, such as in a mechanic's shop, but they have to be correctly marked to keep workers safe.
Do not underestimate just how bad a fall can be. Even falling from a few feet can cause serious injuries. Many relatively short falls can end up being fatal when people land awkwardly. If you get hurt in a workplace accident, you must know what legal rights you have to compensation for your injuries.