Workplace Falls: A Growing Concern in the United States and Canada
June 12th 2023
Workplace safety is a crucial aspect of any organization, with an emphasis on preventing accidents and ensuring the well-being of employees. Among the various hazards that workers face, falls are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries. This blog explores the issue of workplace falls in the United States and Canada, shedding light on the prevalence, causes, and preventive measures associated with these accidents.
The Prevalence of Workplace Falls
1.1 United States
In the United States, workplace falls constitute a significant portion of occupational injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls account for a considerable number of fatalities and injuries across various industries. OSHA reports that in 2019, falls accounted for 880 deaths and 244,000 non-fatal injuries, making them the second-leading cause of worker fatalities in the construction industry.
Similarly, falls pose a significant risk to Canadian workers. The Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) reported that falls from heights or on the same level accounted for 17.5% of all lost-time claims in Canada in 2019. The construction industry is particularly affected, with falls representing a leading cause of serious injuries and fatalities.
Common Causes of Workplace Falls
2.1 Hazards in the Work Environment
Several factors contribute to workplace falls, including inadequate safety measures, poor housekeeping, and hazardous working conditions. Slippery surfaces, unsecured ladders, uneven floors, and cluttered walkways are common hazards that increase the risk of falls in both the United States and Canada.
2.2 Insufficient Training and Awareness
Lack of proper training and awareness programs is another significant factor leading to workplace falls. Insufficient knowledge about safe work practices, improper use of equipment, and failure to recognize potential hazards can all contribute to accidents.
Prevention and Safety Measures
3.1 United States
In the United States, OSHA has established standards and regulations to prevent falls in various industries, especially in construction. Employers are required to implement fall protection systems, such as guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems. OSHA also emphasizes the importance of training employees on fall prevention, hazard identification, and safe work practices.
Canada has also implemented measures to address workplace falls. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) provides resources and guidelines to assist employers in developing effective fall prevention strategies. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has established standards for fall protection equipment, ensuring that employers provide adequate protection to workers at height.
Promoting a Culture of Safety
To minimize workplace falls, employers should prioritize creating a culture of safety that fosters awareness, training, and continuous improvement. Regular safety inspections, hazard assessments, and open communication channels can help identify potential risks and address them promptly.
Workplace falls pose a significant risk to workers in the United States and Canada. It is crucial for employers and employees alike to be aware of the causes and preventive measures associated with these accidents. By implementing appropriate safety protocols, providing adequate training, and fostering a culture of safety, organizations can reduce the incidence of workplace falls and ensure the well-being of their workforce.
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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). (n.d.). Fall Protection. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html
Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC). (2021). Work Injuries and Diseases Statistics.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). (n.d.). Fall Prevention.