Falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries, accounting for many fatalities and injuries each year. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of worker fatalities in the construction industry. They also account for many injuries and fatalities in other industries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that falls accounted for 14% of all fatal workplace injuries in 2019 and that falls from elevation were responsible for more than 600 fatalities. In addition, nonfatal falls accounted for more than 25% of all workplace injuries that resulted in days away from work.
To prevent falls in the workplace, employers should take a proactive approach to identifying and addressing potential hazards. This can include implementing safety protocols and procedures, training workers on safe work practices, and using engineering controls to eliminate or reduce risks.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends the following steps for preventing falls in the workplace:
- Assess the workplace: Conduct a thorough hazard assessment to identify potential fall hazards.
- Implement controls: Once hazards are identified, implement controls to mitigate risks, such as using guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems.
- Provide training: Provide workers with training on how to work safely, including how to use equipment and recognize and avoid fall hazards.
- Inspect equipment: Regularly inspect and maintain equipment, including ladders, scaffolds, and personal fall protection systems, to ensure they are in good working condition.
Employers should also encourage workers to report any potential hazards or unsafe conditions and take prompt action to address these concerns.
In conclusion, preventing falls in the workplace is critical to protecting workers from injury and preventing fatalities. By implementing safety protocols and procedures, training workers, and regularly inspecting equipment, employers can help prevent falls and create a safer work environment.