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Falls in the workplace and ways to prevent them

Falls on the job are big issues in New York, and they make up a big chunk of workers' compensation claims. While there are industry standards and federal regulations in place to help protect employees, unsafe conditions still exist in many industries. Because falls are still a big concern, prevention efforts continue to increase and improve.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 262,728 workers were injured by falls in the United States in 2014, with 798 of those ending up in fatalities. The industries with the highest incidents of falls include construction, healthcare, retail and wholesale. The causes of falls vary and include slippery floors, ladders that are not positioned properly, holes in the wall and floor and improperly-used protection equipment.

According to OSHA, there are a number of prevention tactics that companies can employ to decrease the incidents of falls. Using the right equipment is imperative, especially in situations in which employees are working at least six feet above the ground. Companies need to ensure that the correct type of scaffolding or ladder is being implemented, and everyone should know how to set them up and use them properly. For employees who work on roofs, a harness needs to be provided for safety.

Time and money must also be spent to plan each job. Identifying safety issues, buying the right equipment and training the staff on correct use must occur before any job begins. Every chore must be considered, and any tool or piece of equipment must be on hand in the event it is needed. Employing these tactics can help reduce falls and keep employees safe. 

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Success Stories

  • A 43 year old ironworker who fell four stories and sustained injuries to his ankle while installing a staircase settled his claim for $1,500,000.00. The accident was due to the failure of the building owner and general contractor to provide a safe place to work.
  • A construction worker operating an asphalt roller settled his case for $525,000.00 when the edge of the roadway he was paving collapsed into a trench being dug by a subcontractor causing him to sustain injuries to his leg.
  • A 54 year old commuter settled his case against the NYCTA for $1,200,000.00. when he tripped and fell on a subway platform due to the pavement being in disrepair, causing him to fall forward and to strike his head on a train pulling into the station.
  • The estate of a 64 year old woman received a settlement of $425,000.00 after she was struck and killed by a speeding tractor trailer while crossing the street at the intersection of Richmond Terrace and Port Richmond Avenue.
  • A $1,200,000.00 settlement was reached on behalf of a 54 year old man from Staten Island, New York, who, while in the course of his employment as a bus driver, was rear-ended on the Garden State Parkway and caused to suffer injuries to his back and neck as well as a fractured rib and fractured pelvis.
  • A 47-year-old building superintendent who sustained injuries to his head and right side of his body due to a tripping hazard at his job site received a settlement of $300,000.00 from the electrical company performing work at the site.
  • A 43 year old construction worker was caused to sustain injuries to his back, shoulder and hand when the elevator he was riding malfunctioned and dropped 8 floors. He received $350,000.00 in the settlement of his claim against the building owner, maintenance company and elevator company.
  • The administrator of the estate of a 69 year old man who suffered stage four pressure sores while a patient at a Queens nursing home settled the case for $400,000.00 after the man died.
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