Reducing workplace falling accidents in North Carolina

Thousands of people are seriously injured or killed each year in fall accidents while working in workplaces across North Carolina as well as the rest of the nation. The rates of such accidents remain stable, and more can be done to reduce the number that occur.

The annual cost of fall accidents is in the billions of dollars, demonstrating the severity of the problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, industries most at risk include the construction, retail, healthcare and wholesale fields, but falls occur across industry types. Fall accidents that occur in the workplace include falls on the same level as well as falls from one level to a lower one.

The CDC's study into the problem indicates that many accidents occur due to several workplace factors. Companies with slick or cluttered floors are more at risk. Those with unstable walking surfaces, or which have walkways with unprotected edges and holes in the surface are also at higher risk. Companies utilizing inadequate or improperly installed fall protection demonstrate a higher fall accident prevalence, as do ones with holes in walls. Other accidents occur when ladders are positioned incorrectly.

It makes sense for companies to take proactive steps to protect their workers from having fall accidents while at work. In addition to saving money, companies can also help to save lives and should thus take corrective action where needed to improve the safety of their workplaces. By working together with their employees, falling accidents can be reduced. Workers who are seriously injured in a fall accident at work should not be fearful of filing claims under their employer's workers' compensation policy. Benefits can include the payment medical expenses, treatment and rehabilitation costs and a portion of the worker's lost income in the event he or she is disabled.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace", accessed on Jan. 18, 2015

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