Workers of all industries face a risk of falling on the job, from retail workers to roofers.
Falls from the same level or a higher level are some of the most common causes of both injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Yet, despite this common knowledge, reports prove that the risk of falling is still one of the biggest dangers that workers face every day on the job – and that the risk is even increasing.
Falls on the same level v. falls to a lower level: Both pose serious risks
Some workers might consider falls to a lower level to be a greater risk of injury than slips and falls on the same level. This is not necessarily true – falls from any level are incredibly dangerous in their own way.
For example, the National Safety Council (NSC) found in 2018 that:
- Falls on the same level led to 154 fatalities and 147,390 injuries; and
- Falls to a lower level led to 615 fatalities and 52,510 injuries.
Falls to a lower level carry a higher risk of a fatal injury for workers. And a 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics did determine that fatalities from falls to a lower level increased by 26% between 2011 and 2016. During this period, 3,723 workers suffered fatal injuries from a fall to a lower level.
Workers must be vigilant when working at great heights, but they should never overlook the risk of falls on the same level either.
The primary issue? Falls can often be prevented
Falls remain one of the leading causes of workplace injuries, and yet the NSC reports that workers and employers can take simple measures to prevent most falls. There are several steps that employers can take to prevent falls in the workplace, such as providing workers with training and proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
However, there are also steps that workers can take to reduce the risk of falling, such as:
- Wearing the proper footwear;
- Following all safety procedures; and
- Remaining aware of all their surroundings.
Even if falls can be prevented in many cases, workers are still entitled to collect workers’ compensation under Maryland law if they suffer injuries from a fall on the job. It is critical for workers to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney after a fall, so they can understand how to protect their rights and recover the compensation they deserve.