The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that falls are a top cause of work-related injury and death. In fact, 14 percent of all workplace deaths in 2011 were caused by falls on the job site.
Unfortunately, many of these falls would never have happened had employers followed safety guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, employers routinely fail to live up to their obligations when it comes to fall-protection measures. In 2011-2012, falls were No. 1 on OSHA’s list of the violations that led most often to citations.
Workers who suffer a fall may be able to make a claim through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance in order to have their medical bills and other costs paid. In certain cases, a worker who suffers a fall at work may also be able to file a personal injury claim against a party who contributed to the fall.
To better understand your rights in a slip-and-fall accident at work, contact an experienced Atlanta slip-and-fall attorney at The Millar Law Firm to schedule your free consultation, give us a call today at 770-400-0000 or complete our online form.
The Dangers of Falls at Workplaces in Atlanta
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI):
- Falls are the primary cause of missed work time. In 22 percent of fall injury cases, at least 31 days of work are missed.
- Slips and falls are a reason for work injury and workers compensation claims.
- Slip and trips and falls are the primary cause of job injury for those aged 15-24.
- 85 percent of workers’ compensation claims occur after an employee slips on a slippery or slick floor.
- ITT Hartford Insurance Company reported that 16 percent of all workers’ compensation claims resulted from falls, and fall injuries accounted for 26 percent of all workers’ compensation costs.
- Slips and falls are a top cause of compensable work injuries in the trucking industry.
Employee fall accidents can happen in any profession, but NFSI reports that fatal falls are most likely to occur in the construction industry and maintenance industry. The U.S. CDC notes that fall-down injuries are also very common in the healthcare sector. Falls frequently occur among heavy truck drivers and tractor-trailer drivers as well.
Falls in the Construction Industry: Falls at Workplaces
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, up to thirty-five 35 percent of deadly construction accidents resulted from tripping and slipping and falling. OSHA also reports that falls are the most frequent cause of fatalities at construction job sites. They are the contributing factor in one of every three construction accident deaths.
While some of these injuries occur due to falls from equipment or falls to a lower elevation, many of the workplace fall deaths resulted from slips, trips, or falls on the same level. This means injured workers may have tripped on construction site debris, uneven ground or other hazards.
OSHA has a number of strict guidelines in place to try to prevent falls on construction sites. While many of these guidelines deal with scaffolding and ladder safety tips, others relate to requirements of adequate signage and the maintenance of a reasonably clean and safe work environment.
Falls in the Maintenance Industry: Workplace Falls
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2011, janitors and cleaners (other than maids and housekeepers) had 55,850 days away from work due to injury. Twenty-nine percent of those days away resulted from falls, slips and trips.
Janitors and cleaners have to work every day to keep offices, schools and other buildings clean. Unfortunately, their job puts them at risk due to the danger of falling on floors made slippery by dirt, debris, ice, water or other surface contamination.
Cleaning Business.com indicates that unwanted substances on the floor that cause hydroplaning are a top cause of injuries within the maintenance industry. Possible sources of contamination that can lead to falls among maintenance workers include:
- Oil spills or grease
- Water, including water from snow or ice
- Soap used to wash floors
- Floor stripper
- Wet finish
- Cement dust or other types of dust and debris.
Lobbies, food preparation areas, rest rooms, areas with perpetually wet floors and areas where the surface of the floor changes in texture or height are all common locations where maintenance workers may hurt themselves in a fall.
Falls in the Healthcare Sector: Workplace falls
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2011, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants had 47,840 days away from work due to injury. Twenty percent of the days missed occurred as a result of falls, slips and trips.
The CDC outlined the top slip, trip and fall hazards in their guide to Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers. According to the CDC, some top hazards for hospital workers and those in the healthcare center include:
- Contaminants such as water, oil, fluid, grease or food on the floor
- Areas with poor drainage systems or bad pipes
- Irregularities in indoor walking surfaces
- Outdoor walking surfaces
- Weather conditions
- Inadequate lighting
- Dangerous stairs and handrails
- Exposed wires, hoses, cords and tubing
- Improper or unsafe use of floor mats and runners.
These are just some of the many risks that hospital workers and healthcare workers are subject to daily as they move around care facilities trying to tend to their patient’s needs without getting hurt in a slip or fall.
Falls Among Heavy Truck Drivers and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers: Workplace Falls
In 2011, BLS data revealed that drivers of heavy trucks and tractor trailers had 44,120 days away from work injury cases. Thirty-percent of the injuries that led to missed work days occurred as a result of falls, trips and slips.
A 2003 Canadian study revealed that the majority of truck accident falls occurred at the rear or back of trucks and trailers, while working at or near the step and cargo. The falls among truckers commonly resulted in sprains or strains, contusions and bone fractures.
How an Atlanta Slip-and-Fall Attorney Can Help you with your Accidents at Work
Regardless of what industry you work in, you are a potential victim of a slip-and-fall accident since fall hazards are everywhere. If you are hurt at work after a slip, trip or fall, it is advisable to contact an experienced Atlanta injury lawyer. An Atlanta, Georgia attorney can review and investigate your accident case to assist you to better understand your rights.
Typically, under Georgia workers’ compensation law, a worker who is hurt in a slip and fall on the job cannot sue but instead must file a workers’ compensation claim. A worker who files a successful workers’ compensation claim will be paid compensation for 100 percent of medical bills as well as a percent of lost income. Disability benefits are also available. There is no requirement under workers’ comp to prove any kind of employer negligence, but you do have to show the injury directly resulted from work tasks.
Georgia workers’ compensation law generally limits your ability to sue your employer for a work injury, but if your fall was caused by a third party (such as an architect overseeing a construction job), then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. Such a lawsuit could result in broader compensation, including payment for pain and suffering. Become aware of you work injury legal rights.
Contact an Atlanta Workplace Slip-and-Fall Lawyer Today
At The Millar Law Firm our experienced and dedicated Atlanta slip-and-fall lawyers have the knowledge, skills and abilities to help victims throughout Georgia to make their slip-and-fall accident case as strong as possible.
We can help you to build a case using eyewitness testimony, expert witnesses and other persuasive evidence to help you to prove another party should be held responsible and compensate you for your work injuries.
If you were injured at work from a fall, learn more about how we can help by calling us today at 770-400-0000 (dial “770-Four-Million) or complete our online contact form. We provide free initial consultations and do not charge for our legal services unless you recover a fair settlement or award for having been injured.