Watch your step

February 1, 2013

Work-related falls can result in severe injuries and death. According to the National Safety Council, falls to a lower level were the second leading cause of workplace fatalities in 2009, behind highway crashes. In that same year, 538 workers died from these falls and nearly 65,000 workers were injured.

NIOSH notes that the construction industry experiences the highest number of fall-related fatalities, while the most nonfatal fall injuries occur in the health services, wholesale and retail industries. The following circumstances are associated with falls at work:

  • Slippery, cluttered or unstable walking/working surfaces
  • Unprotected edges
  • Floor holes and wall openings
  • Unsafely positioned ladders
  • Misused fall protection

NIOSH recommends employers plan ahead to ensure workers are equipped with the proper equipment for the job. Additionally, all workers should be trained on proper use of equipment.