Reduce the risk of workplace fall accidents

A serious fall can happen in any workplace, including offices, hospitals and construction sites. Workers and employers in high-risk industries, such as roofing, should ideally have a comprehensive fall awareness and prevention plan to minimize the risk of disabling injuries and death. Here at Good Samaritan Hospital, our emergency care team is available around the clock every day of the year to initiate life-saving interventions for injured workers in the San Jose area.

Know how falls happen
Unanticipated hazards can be the most dangerous. A deadly fall can occur when a worker stumbles and falls off an elevated platform or down an unguarded shaft. Falls are more likely to affect workers who are new to the job, haven’t received the proper safety training or are unfamiliar with the work area.

Some of the most common causes of falls include the following:

  • Lack of guardrail systems
  • Lack of personal protective equipment, such as restraining systems
  • Mechanically unsound scaffolding or equipment
  • Improper employee training

Falls from elevated positions are the most serious type.

  • Ladders
  • Scaffolding
  • Aerial lift platforms
  • Roofs and roof openings (skylights)
  • Hoist areas
  • Stairways

Once employers have identified the hazards, they can develop written fall prevention guidelines.

Improve surface traction
Sometimes, deadly falls don’t happen because of a major equipment malfunction, but because of something as simple as a spilled cup of coffee. All areas of the worksite should have proper traction, which means spills must be cleaned promptly. Employers can also take the following steps:

  • Use non-slip mats at entrances
  • Use anti-skid paint or anti-skid adhesive tape
  • Display “Wet Floor” signs
  • Require employees to wear appropriate shoes

Use appropriate safety devices
The use of fall protection systems may be required by law, depending on the specific situation. Depending on the industry and the particular hazard, employees may need:

  • Safety line and harness
  • Safety line and belt
  • Safety nets
  • Surface opening protection (guardrails and removable covers)

A small investment in safety equipment and training time can make the difference between life and death or disability for high-risk workers.

Please direct all serious and life-threatening injuries to a 911 dispatcher. For non-emergent, general questions only, a registered nurse is available at (888) 724-2362 to assist you. The entire team at Good Samaritan Hospital is committed to providing superior, personalized medical care because our patients are our neighbors in San Jose.

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