Slips, trips and falls are a major hazard for workers in Kentucky and across the United States. According to the National Safety Council, 798 workers died from falls in 2014. Of those, 660 died after falling from a height, and 138 were killed in falls on the same level. However, there are some simple safety measures workers can take to reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries and fatalities.
Before they begin a job, workers should assess the environment for slip, trip and fall hazards and create a prevention plan. If workers see a potential hazard, they should point it out and make sure it is dealt with. To avoid falls on the same level, workers should slow down and watch where they are walking, taking note of any changes in elevation. They should avoid distractions, such as texting or phone calls, and wear job-appropriate footwear. If workers notice any spills, they should clean them up as soon as possible.
In order to prevent falls from a height, workers should make sure fall prevention systems, including guardrails, are securely in place. When necessary, they should also use fall protection equipment, such as harnesses. If using a ladder, workers should ensure it is standing on a solid surface and always maintain three points of contact with it, meaning that three out of four limbs are touching the rungs at all times. Also, workers should never use a ladder in poor weather or windy conditions.
Slips, trips and falls frequently cause head, back and neck injuries. Workers who are injured in a job-related fall are eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. In order to receive these benefits, workers must waive their right to sue their employer. An attorney might be able to review a worker’s case and recommend the best course of legal action.
Source: Safety and Health, “Watch where you’re going,” May 27, 2018