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02. Types of Work Related Falls

There are many different types of fall related injuries that can occur in a working environment. The more common injuries include:

  • Falls from ladders

  • Falls from one level to another

  • From roof

  • Down the stairs or steps

  • Building girders or structural steel

  • Falls from trees

  • Falls from scaffolding, staging

  • On same level

  • From nonmoving vehicle

  • Fatal falls, by type of fall, 2009
    Ladders: Construction workers are more likely than other occupations to be injured by falling from ladders. Reaching overhead or overextending oneself beyond the rail of the ladder is the most common cause of ladder falls. Ladders may include extension, fixed, rope or step. To avoid injury, it is recommend that workers inspect the ladder to ensure that it is in good condition, select the proper ladder for the task, have a second person to assist with carrying the ladder, stabilizing the ladder and also to transport equipment up the ladder. Ladders may be fixed or portable and can vary in length and type. They can be folding or include an extension. Safety features include stabilizers, non-skid surfaces and a guard rail. Factors that contribute to falls may include overreaching, overbalancing, slipping on rungs, defective equipment and using the wrong ladder for the task. For more information: 10. Ladder Safety - The Right Steps to Take

    Falls from one level to another: There are numerous ways that an individual worker may fall from one level to another. A fall of more than six feet is considered a fall from one level to another. Falls may vary from standing on a ladder changing a light bulb, to connecting bolts on steel girders hundreds of feet above the ground. Safety features would include the use of a guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall-arrest system to protect workers.

    Scaffolding: Scaffolds are temporary structures that are used for workers to gain elevation while working on a project. Scaffolding comes in an array of sizes, shapes and materials such as steel, wood or even bamboo. Workers employed in construction, carpentry, or as brick or stone masons were most likely to be injured. Safety features include guard rails, safety line and non-skid surfaces. Attributing factors to falls include the use of broken equipment, improper maintenance or assembly, too much weight for the type of scaffolding, lack of guard rails or improperly getting on or off of the scaffolding.

    On Same Level: Slipping or tripping occurs when there is not enough friction between the foot of the person and the surface they are walking on or if the person's foot encounters an unexpected object in their path. Some factors that may contribute to slipping and tripping may include being personally distracted, poor lighting, or wearing inappropriate footwear for the surface on which the individual is walking. Prevention measures include keeping work areas well lit, clean and sanitary, the permanent marking of aisles and passageways, non-skid surfaces and requiring that employees wear proper footwear. Additional research needs to be conducted regarding the types of surfaces on which falls are occurring 03. Falls in the Banking Industry! (Lipscomb et al., 2004).

    Nonmoving Vehicle: Vehicles are used in a variety of industries and occupations. Vehicles may include automobiles, buses, trucks, vans, construction machinery used as transport vehicles on public highways, farm and industrial machinery, fire engines, motorcycles, motorized bicycles or scooters, and trolley buses not operating on rails and forklifts. Injuries from this type of fall often occurs from falling off the vehicle while doing maintenance, securing loads, cleaning the vehicle, or loading and unloading cargo. The greatest number of falls occurs in manufacturing and transportation/communications/public utilities (TCPU). Safety features include the use of seat belts, proper footwear and the use of a safety harness.