Workers in Pennsylvania should be aware of the hazards of falls. These are a particular risk in the construction industry, but an injury from a fall can occur in any occupation. Other industries that have high injury rates from falls include health care, retail, transportation, and building cleaning and maintenance. In 2009, more than 600 workers were killed and over 200,000 seriously injured in falls.

Many of these workplace falls may be preventable. Common reasons for falls are slippery floors, ladders that are poorly positioned, safety equipment that is not used properly, and walking areas that are cluttered or uneven. Despite federal efforts to enforce safety standards, safe practices are often not implemented, and a culture that fails to emphasize safety persists at many work sites.

In addition to the physical danger to workers, falls are costly as well. It is estimated that the cost of medical care and workers’ compensation benefits related to fall injuries is in the billions of dollars each year. The federal government as well as a number of industry leaders are continuing to attempt to develop strategies for preventing falls in the workplace. On a federal level, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is taking the lead in these initiatives.

In most cases, workers who are injured on the job should be eligible for benefits provided by workers’ compensation insurance. However, applying for workers’ compensation requires compliance with certain procedural steps. An attorney who has experience with these matters can assist an injured client throughout the claims process, including furnishing representation in a subsequent hearing should the claim be denied in whole or in part.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace”, accessed on Jan. 25, 2015