The total dollar cost to victims and families affected by work-related deaths and injuries, to employers, and to the country as a whole is much greater than the cost of workers' compensation insurance alone.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that the total cost of occupational deaths and injuries in 2005 was $625.5 billion. That figure includes wage and productivity losses, medical costs, administrative expenses, cost estimates for workers to make up lost work time due to another worker's injury, and the time to investigate and report injuries.
According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, healthy and safe work conditions are everyone's responsibility. Companies and employers must be aware of any workplace hazards, and they're got to take the proper precautionary steps to eliminate these risks. Workers are required to follow the safety and health standards set forth by their employer. One of the most common of these hazards, on work sites nationwide, are fall hazards.
Our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys understand that there were close to 5,000 workers killed on the job in the U.S. in 2011. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), close to 20 percent of these fatal accidents occurred in the construction industry. The number one cause of these fatalities was fall accidents. Following these accidents were electrocution, struck by and caught in between accidents.
Fall accidents accounted for close to 40 percent of the fatal accidents in the construction industry in 2011. More than 250 of the 721 employees were killed in these kinds of accidents in 2011.
When talking about fall accidents, we're not always talking about falling from extreme heights. There are shorter falls that can seriously injure a worker, too. Some of these trip and stumble hazards include:
-Objects places in walkways.
-Objects that are not kept in their proper place.
-Tools left on the floor.
-Extension cords and other cords and hoses on the ground.
-Holed in the floor.
-Sudden changed in pitch or elevation.
People have fallen from considerable heights and received only a few broken bones, while others fall to the floor from a standing or sitting position and die from their injuries. Nearly all falls result from conditions or practices that seem obvious; however, preventing such accidents requires maintaining safe conditions in the workplace and training to ensure safe actions by employees.
These hazards and risks can be eliminated with a simple safety checklist. Before starting your work day, and periodically in between, make sure you're checking the floors, stairs and walkways. Make sure they're clear from free tools, materials, water, chemicals or anything else that can be tripped on.
You should also make sure that everyone has the proper training to use the equipment required -- even the smaller, simpler equipment. Are ladders in good condition, free from cracks, burrs and splinters?
Lastly, make sure that all walkways are well lit. Lighting is one of the most important thing when ensure that your workplace is safe for everyone.