Falls are a hazard found in many work settings. A fall can occur during walking or climbing a ladder to change a light fixture, or as a result of a complex series of events affecting an ironworker 80 feet above the ground.
Based on 2014 published data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 261,930 private industry and state and local government workers missed one or more days of work due to injuries from falls on the same level or to lower levels, and 798 workers died from such falls.
The construction industry experienced the highest frequency of fall-related deaths, while the highest counts of nonfatal fall injuries continue to be associated with the health services and the wholesale and retail industries.
Particularly at risk of fall injuries are those working in:
- Healthcare support;
- Building cleaning and maintenance;
- Transportation and material moving; and
- Construction and extraction occupations
Fall injuries create a considerable financial burden: workers’ compensation and medical costs associated with occupational fall incidents have been estimated at $70 billion annually in the United States.
Many other countries face similar challenges in the workplace. In fact, the international public health community has a strong interest in developing strategies to reduce the toll of fall injuries.
In the video shown here, OSHA enumerates 5 steps to prevent falls in the workplace.