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Wilmington 302-427-9500 Bear 302-834-8484 Milford 302-422-6705 Lewes 302-550-0155

Falls Remain Deadliest Hazard for Workers

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers weigh in on fatal workplace falls. A recent study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identified falls as the second-leading cause of work-related fatalities. Using the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the Current Population Survey, researchers determined that over an 11-year period, falls accounted for 14 percent of all worker fatalities. During the time period from 2003 to 2014, 8,880 workers died from falls.

The construction and extraction industries have the highest fatal fall rate, followed by installation, maintenance and repair. Construction has long been a target for risk elimination by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) because of the high number of fatalities involving the so-called “fatal four” accidents. In addition to falls, struck-by accidents, caught in/between accidents and electrocution account for the high numbers of fatalities each year. By eliminating the fatal four many lives could be saved.

The vast majority of fatal falls happen when a worker at heights falls to a lower level. The study found that this type of fall accounted for 84.7 percent of total fatalities and 45 percent of these happened in smaller organizations with 10 or fewer workers. Falls on the same level resulted in 12.7 percent and 2.6 percent were all other types of falls. Certain groups of workers had higher rates of falls, including Hispanic and older workers.

Preventing Workplace Falls

Many workplace accidents are preventable, including falls. The new research by NIOSH indicates that there has been no overall significant decrease in work-related falls and that more preventative efforts are needed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues specific guidelines for fall prevention, and even runs a National Fall Prevention Campaign together with NIOSH and the Center for Construction Research and Training.

The cornerstones of the campaign are PLAN, PROVIDE, and TRAIN, and can be explained as follows:

  • PLAN – Safety begins with planning ahead to ensure that cost estimates include safety equipment. A job must be analyzed to decide what safety equipment is needed to complete various tasks.
  • PROVIDE – The right equipment can make the difference in whether or not workers will be put at risk for serious injury or death. Employers must provide the proper kinds of ladders, scaffolding, and additional safety gear such as fall protection. Equipment such as personal arrest systems must be inspected regularly.
  • TRAIN – All employees must be trained in a language that they can understand about the risks of the job they perform and how to avoid safety hazards. Proper set-up and use of equipment must also be taught so that workers have the knowledge they need to stay safe.

The NIOSH researchers concluded that it will take a concerted effort by regulators, industry leaders, labor groups, safety professionals, as well as employers and employees to bring down the rates of fatal work-related falls.

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Construction Workers Injured in Falls

If you have been injured in a fall at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult a seasoned and dedicated Wilmington construction accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow who can advise you on obtaining the maximum possible compensation available to you. Our legal team has the knowledge and experience that could make the difference for your case. Call our Bear office at 302-834-8484, our Milford office at 302-422-6705, or our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. We help injured workers throughout Delaware, including those in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

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