A Georgia worker was taken to the hospital this October after falling approximately 30 feet from a mechanical ladder. The worker was reportedly on the ladder performing some type of work on a grocery store sign when an accident caused him to tumble 30 feet down onto the concrete. 11 Alive reported that it was unclear what caused the accident that led to the fall. The man was transported to Atlanta Medical Center with broken bones and head injuries.
This injured worker was one of many who get hurt as a result of falls each year. After a workplace fall, injured victims may make a workers’ compensation claim to get their medical bills covered. When falls turn fatal, surviving family members and dependents of the employee who died in the accident can pursue a claim for death benefits. An Atlanta work injury lawyer can represent those who need assistance with their claim.
Falls are a Frequent Cause of Atlanta Work Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Falls are a persistent hazard found in all occupational settings.” In 2009, there were 605 workplace fatalities nationwide as a result of workers falling. There were another 212,760 workers who sustained injuries in falls. This included both falls to a lower level (as in the case of the man who fell 30 feet) as well as falls that occurred on the same level (when someone slips or trips and does not fall down a great distance).
Construction workers are at the greatest risk of falls, but workers across all industries could potentially be hurt by accidents that cause them to slip or to fall down to a lower level. Nonfatal fall injuries also occur in high numbers in the health services sector, in the wholesale and retail industries, in transportation and material moving, and in building cleaning, maintenance, and transportation positions.
Costs associated with occupational fall incidents reach approximately $70 billion annually. These costs should be paid for by workers’ compensation insurance purchased by employers to protect those hurt on-the-job. Injured workers don’t have to demonstrate negligence on the part of employers in order to be able to get benefits after suffering a work-related fall.
Falls frequently occur as a result of slippery flooring, cluttered walking surfaces, unstable working or walking services, holes in floors, and openings in walls. Unprotected edges and ladders that are not safely positioned are also leading causes of accidents leading to fall injuries. When work is performed at high levels on construction sites or in other work environments, fall protection equipment is supposed to be used, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Unfortunately, employers sometimes fail to provide equipment or don’t train workers properly on its use.
Reducing fall-related injuries requires cooperation between employers and employees. Safety professionals, professional associations, and labor unions can put pressure on businesses to do better when it comes to fall protection. Regulators and OSHA inspectors also have an important role to play in making sure that fall-prevention techniques are utilized, but unfortunately understaffing at OSHA means that too many businesses do not get inspected frequently enough to ensure that proper safety guidelines are followed.
Workers who believe they are being put at risk of a fall injury should try to speak up before an accident happens so they can avoid serious or fatal injuries on the job. Those who do fall should ensure they understand their rights and make a benefits claim.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.