Workplace injuries often caused by falling off a ladder or great height
Attorney explains what you need to do to prevent work-related fall injuries
Falling off a ladder or falling from a height remain one of the most common causes of workplace accidents, according to statistics compiled by the federal government. Fortunately, there are steps workers can take to prevent these serious workplace accidents, especially when it comes to working safely on a ladder.
How common are falling from a height injuries?
In recent years, the number of falling from a height injuries and fatalities has continued to increase.
According to statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a federal government agency, there was a 26 percent increase in work-related fatalities due to falling from a height from 2011-2016.
Where do most work-related falls occur?
While falling from a height at work can occur anywhere, these accidents often occur at certain places -- and they might not be where you would expect. According to the BLS study of fatal work-related falls from 2011-2016, roofs and ladders were the most common places for these accidents. Falling from scaffolding and tall machinery were also a common source of fatal work-related falls. According to the BLS statistics, the 10 most common places fatal work-related falls occurred from 2011-2016 were:
- Falling 6-10 feet from a ladder – 174 fatalities
- Falling 11-15 feet from a roof – 151 fatalities
- Falling 16-20 feet from a roof – 146 fatalities
- Falling 11-15 feet from a ladder – 145 fatalities
- Falling 21-25 feet from a roof – 130 fatalities
- Falling over 30 feet from a roof – 127 fatalities
- Falling under 6 feet from a vehicle – 127 fatalities
- Falling 16-20 feet from a ladder – 109 fatalities
- Falling 26-30 feet from a roof – 100 fatalities
- Falling over 30 feet from scaffolding – 93 fatalities
Which industries are the most dangerous for falls from a height?
While workplace injuries caused by falling from a height can happen to anyone, these injuries are more common in certain industries than others. In the BLS study focusing on workplace fatalities from 2011-2016 due to falling at work, the most dangerous professions included construction work and jobs classified as “professional and business services.” Worst of all, the number of fatalities due to falling increased in most industries during this six-year period. The work-related fall fatality figures include:
- Construction work – 255 fatalities in 2011, 370 fatalities in 2016.
- Professional and business services – 92 fatalities in 2011, 96 fatalities in 2016.
- Trade, transportation and utility work – 49 fatalities in 2011, 65 fatalities in 2016.
- Natural resources and mining work – 44 fatalities in 2011, 38 fatalities in 2016.
- Manufacturing work – 38 fatalities in 2011, 37 fatalities in 2016.
- Other private industries – 44 fatalities in 2011, 71 fatalities in 2016.
Working on ladders and roofs can be dangerous. That’s why employers need to take precautions to protect workers’ safety.
What can companies do to prevent falls from a height injuries?
There are many things companies can and should do to prevent work-related injuries involving falling from a ladder or a great height, according to Occupational Health & Safety, including:
- Train employees how to properly use a ladder.
- Make sure the ladder is in proper working order.
- Make sure the ladder is placed on a level surface.
- Maintain three points of contact (two feet, one hand, for example) when using a ladder.
- Do not overreach when using a ladder.
- The 4:1 ladder ratio (for every 4 feet of ladder length, the ladder needs to be 1 foot away from the wall)
These are just some of the steps employers and workers can take to protect their safety when working on a ladder or at a great height.
What should I do if I sustain a workplace injury after falling from a ladder?
Accidents involving ladders or falling from a height need to be taken seriously right from the start. If you or a loved one got hurt at work due to falling from a height, we recommend the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention. You or a your loved one could have a serious neck injury, spinal cord injury or head injury.
- Tell your supervisor you got hurt by falling off a ladder or from a height.
- Talk to a workplace accident lawyer right away.
Falling off a ladder, roof, scaffolding or from another high place often results in serious injuries or even fatalities. If you are injured in a workplace accident, take steps to protect your rights. Contact an experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer at Tabor Law Firm, P.A. for a free consultation.