According to the Occupational Safety and Health Association, 15% of work-related fatalities nationwide, including Ohio, are caused by accidental falls. The matter is concerning because slip-and-fall accidents are preventable. Workplace safety advocates say the direct annual costs related to these injuries are more than $11 billion.
Common types of slip, trip and fall accidents
The following falls occur where work tasks take place on elevated levels and at ground level:
- Falls from ladders
- Falls from roofs
- Falls from mobile equipment
- Slips on snow and ice in winter
- Slips on wet floors
- Trips over randomly placed objects or debris
- Trips on unmarked elevation changes
- Falls caused by improper footwear
Precautions to prevent slips, trips and falls
Workers on elevations that exceed industry standards must always wear fall prevention or fall arrest personal protective equipment. In the construction industry, workers at levels higher than 6 feet must have adequate PPE to arrest falls, and in general industries, the limit is 4 feet.
The required fall protection equipment must include full-body harnesses and self-retracting lanyards. Secure anchor points must be available at various points to allow workers to have approved anchor points as they move about at heights.
Guardrails must be placed where feasible at the edges of elevated work areas and around holes like skylights to protect roof workers.
Proper housekeeping is crucial in all workplaces. Spills must be cleaned immediately to prevent slips, and warning signs must be posted where slip hazards that cannot be resolved immediately exist. All walkways and paths in the work area and outside must be free of obstacles that could cause trip-and-fall accidents. Dedicated areas must be established to lay down equipment and tools required for the task.
Portable and fixed ladders must be placed on stable bases, and workers must not carry tools or other objects while climbing a ladder. Their hands must be free to maintain the three-point contact method while climbing up or down ladders. While on ladders, workers must avoid stretching for items that are out of reach.
Victims of work-related injuries in Ohio will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, injuries must be reported as soon as possible to ensure claims are filed within the time limit. Compensation typically includes medical expenses and a portion of lost wages for periods of temporary disability.