People die on the job, and most workers die on the job because of a fall (other than deaths related to motor vehicle accidents). The danger of being seriously or fatally injured in a slip and fall accident is very real for anyone on the job here in Indiana or Illinois.
It’s important for all of us to be aware of the danger of being hurt or killed in a slip and fall accident while at work. While some jobs (especially construction work) are more dangerous than others, the reality is that fall accidents kill workers. The danger of an on-the-job slip and fall accident needs to be taken very seriously.
In our next post, we’ll consider how much employers and companies respect this danger and protect workers from slip and fall accidents. Here, some information about the risks facing workers on the job of a deadly fall:
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) studies this risk to the American worker, defining it as a “fall hazard.”
Fall hazards are present at most worksites and many workers are exposed to these hazards on a daily basis. A fall hazard is anything at your worksite that could cause you to lose your balance or lose bodily support and result in a fall. Any walking or working surface can be a potential fall hazard.
Traumatic Brain Injury in a Slip and Fall Work Accident
In fatal falls, the accident victim usually suffers a blow to the head which results in a deadly traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half (47%) of all serious TBI victims were hurt in an accidental fall.
These brain injuries can result in immediate death. They can also result in long term harm including paralysis, coma, loss of bodily function, etc., which over the course of time result in fatality.
Wearing hard hats on the job, or being required to wear safety gear, may help to alleviate the risk of death to the worker from a TBI. However, these protocols are no guarantee of avoiding harm – and they must be implemented and used in order to be in any way effective.
Certain Jobs Have a Higher Risk of Slip and Fall Accidents
For some kinds of work, there comes a greater danger of being seriously hurt or killed in a fall. We’ve discussed the specific risks facing construction workers before, but other industries also statistically show a higher risk of serious or deadly fall accidents.
If you or a loved one work in one of the following jobs, then you need to be aware of the danger of a serious fall injury while at work.
According to the CDC, people working in the following industries are more likely to be hurt in a slip and fall accident:
Construction which includes those working as:
- Construction and building inspectors
- Construction laborers and helpers
- Drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers
- Elevator installers and repairers
- Flooring installers and tile and marble setters
- Hazardous material removal workers
- Insulation workers
- Masonry workers
- Painters, construction and maintenance
- Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
- Sheet metal workers
- Solar photovoltaic workers.
Health Care which includes those working as:
- Home Health Aides
- Psychiatric Aides
- Nursing Assistants
- Occupational Therapy Assistants
- Occupational Therapy Aides
- Physical Therapist Assistants
- Physical Therapist Aides
- Massage Therapists
- Dental Assistants
- Medical Assistants
- Medical Equipment Preparers
- Medical Transcriptionists
- Pharmacy Aides
- Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers.
Building Cleaning and Maintenance which includes:
- First-Line Supervisors of Housekeeping and Janitorial Workers
- First-Line Supervisors of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Groundskeeping Workers
- Janitors and Cleaners
- Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners
- Building Cleaning Workers
- Pest Control Workers
- Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
- Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation
- Tree Trimmers and Pruners
- Grounds Maintenance Workers.
Transportation and Material Moving which include those working as:
- Air traffic controllers
- Airline and commercial pilots
- Bus drivers
- Delivery truck drivers
- Flight attendants
- Hand laborers
- Tractor-trailer truck drivers
- Material moving equipment operators
- Railroad workers
- Taxi drivers
- Water transportation workers.
Fatal Falls on the Job
In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that falls were responsible for the most worker deaths on the job outside of transportation accidents. Of these worker deaths due to a fall, it was a fall to a lower level that caused the most fatalities. Workers falling from a higher to lower level resulted in 81% of these fatal fall accidents on the job.
Most of the on the job fall fatalities were not from great heights. Almost half of these fatalities involved falls of 15 feet or less.
And, of course, the workers most at risk of a fatal fall on the job were those working in some kind of construction trade. Forty percent (40%) of all fatal work injuries in this country were construction workers.
In our next post, we will discuss the legal duty of employers to keep their workers safe from a serious slip and fall accident on the job. We’ll also discuss the realities facing workers today, where all too often the company puts profits over people leaving workers to face the danger of dying or being severely injured in a slip and fall accident. Let’s be careful out there!