Falls At Work, Why Do They Happen?

Simplified Safety welcomes William Haflidson from AiX Safety as a new guest blogger. William is located in Ontario, Canada and will be providing insights to health and safety issues in Canada.

Unfortunately fall injuries happen in almost all types of workplaces. Falls are the number two workplace killer (after automobile collisions) in most jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. You dont even have to fall very far; every year there are many fatalities from falls under 10 feet. The causes of the fall though do depend on where you work.

In construction most fall injuries result because of falls off of something above the ground such as a ladder, scaffold, scissor lift, or opening with no guard rail. In construction, 70% of falls are from a height while 30% are due to slips/trips on the same level. Falls from height are usually much more severe than a fall on the same level. Many falls from height occur where personal protective equipment wouldn't be typically used such as falls through an unguarded opening in the floor or scaffold, a missing guardrail, and falls from ladders (30% of falls from a height).

In construction, the workplace is always changing and workers are commonly working by themselves. What they need to do regarding fall prevention must be ingrained in their brain. Make sure your company has clear fall prevention policies and training requirements and that they are enforced. Ensure that fall arrest equipment is readily available because if it is hard to get it wont be used.

In the industrial sector, (manufacturing plants, offices and warehouses) 70% of the fall-related lost time injuries are due to slips/trips on the same level, 30% are from height.  It is important that spills and items in the walking path are quickly taken care of.

Having policies in place is a major part of the solution. Many people think this is unnecessary and common sense but you need something to point to like a policy or procedure when someone does not clean up a spill or leaves materials across a walking path.

Regular inspections are key, look for debris, power cords, strapping, water, oil or other fluids in walking areas. Make sure enough lighting is provided in halls, aisles and around work areas.

Bad things happen to good people all the time! Take steps to protect yourself and others at your work.

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