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Reducing workplace fall injury accidents

Every year in Minnesota, numerous workers are seriously injured or killed when they fall while performing their duties. Although the construction industry accounts for the highest number of fatal fall accidents, the health care, retail and wholesale industries have the highest number of fall injury accidents. Falls at work, either on the same level or to a lower level, occur in every industry, and they remain as a persistent safety risk.

There are several conditions that contribute to higher incidences of fall accidents. Workplaces that have slippery or cluttered floors pose a heightened risk, as do those with unstable walkways or those with holes in the floor. Some companies have upper levels without edge protection, leading to workers falling from one level to another. Workers improperly positioning ladders and workplaces with inadequate or no fall protection in place also pose increased fall accident risks.

Companies should take corrective action to limit the number of fall injuries. Where possible, they should install fall protection and edge protection materials. Holes in floors should be covered so workers do not fall through them. Companies would also be advised to have strong safety policies and procedures in place. Conducting regular training regarding workplace safety practices can also help reduce the likelihood a fall injury accident will occur.

Taking steps to reduce the occurrence of work accidents makes good financial sense for companies while also presenting savings in terms of human lives. Those who fall while at work and are seriously injured may collect benefits and medical expenses through their employer's workers' compensation insurance. The mandated coverage is designed to help workers deal with the financial consequences of suffering an injury while performing work-related duties.

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

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