In many industries, falls are one of the leading causes of injury. Consider construction, for instance, where workers can fall from partially-constructed buildings, from rooftops or ladders. Painters, roofers, warehouse workers and many others also face serious fall risks.
To protect them, employers should use one of two different types of systems as described below.
Fall prevention systems
A fall prevention system is designed to stop a fall from happening in the first place. A common example is a railing. A worker may not have any personal protection, but if they are working behind a railing, the threat of them falling from a height is greatly reduced. Unfortunately, these systems are impractical in many settings. There’s just no way to set them up in all settings to reduce falls.
A fall arrest system
When falling isn’t preventable, they should use a fall arrest system. This system is designed to stop the worker from reaching a lower level. The fall is still entirely possible, but the goal is to catch the worker before they strike a hard surface, reducing the odds of serious injury. For example, a worker wearing a rope and harness may still slip and fall off a roof, but the fall arrest system will catch them before they hit the ground. These systems are often easier to implement, but workers can still suffer injuries.
If you have been hurt on the job, especially in a serious fall, you must know what rights you have to compensation. Workers’ comp can help to both replace your wages and pay off your medical bills.