Fall Injuries in the Workplace
Falls are a constant hazard found in all trades. A fall can occur during simple acts of 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. The highest frequency of fall-related fatalities is typically experienced by the construction industry, while the highest counts of nonfatal fall injuries continue to be associated with the health services and the wholesale and retail industries. Healthcare support, building and maintenance, transportation and material moving, and construction and extraction occupations are particularly at risk of fall injuries.
Circumstances associated with fall incidents at work frequently involve slippery, cluttered, or unstable walking/working surfaces; unprotected edges; floor holes and wall openings; unsafely positioned ladders; and misused fall protection. NYS and Federal regulations and industry consensus standards provide specific measures and performance-based recommendations for fall prevention and protection. However, persistent unsafe practices and low safety culture across many industries cause steady fall injury rates year after year.
Fall injuries constitute a considerable financial burden on working families. Meager workers’ compensation benefits and high medical costs due to occupational falls can quickly plunge a working family into financial ruin.
Successful reduction of fall injury and fatality rates requires continued concerted efforts of regulators and industry leaders, professional associations and labor unions, employers and employees, safety professionals and researchers in enhancing the work environment, implementing new effective fall prevention and protection technologies, and improving the work safety culture through continuous education of the workforce. The workplace injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are proud to serve as advocates for workers involved in these types of incidents, and play a key role in complex fall-injury litigation.