Workplace falls are a major hazard in many occupations, especially in the construction industry. A worker can fall while walking, climbing a ladder, working on a roof or while working 10 or even 80 feet above the ground.
According to 2014 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; 261,930 workers from the private and government sectors missed at least one day of work after being injured in a fall-related accident that was either on the same level, or to a lower level and another 798 workers died after falling.
Of all industries, the construction industry ranked #1 in the number of fall-related fatalities in 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Meanwhile, the health services, wholesale and retail industries claim the most nonfatal fall-related injuries of all industries combined.
The CDC reports that the workers at the highest risk of a fall-related injury, includes employees who work in:
- Occupations involving healthcare support
- Janitorial services
- Moving materials
The annual workers' compensation and medical costs of occupational fall-related injuries is estimated at about $70 billion in the United States, according to the CDC, which is a staggering figure.
While federal regulations and industry standards encourage safety measures for fall prevention, many employers fail to follow safety protocol and in effect, hundreds of thousands of workers sustain fall-related injuries each year.
The best way for companies to successfully reduce fall-related injuries and deaths is to focus on and implement effective fall protection equipment and technologies, and to educate their workforce on fall prevention methods, but too many employers fail to concentrate on these areas.